Even if you're a procrastinator who is up a creek about finding that special something for that special someone two days before Christmas, there's hope.
Perhaps you'd consider champagne glasses made from 1959 Cadillac taillight lenses, a soft-sculpture child's chair that doubles as mammoth building blocks, a $10,000 coffee table built on a racing car engine or a couple of 60-minute videos designed to help you relax.
A Fish Video
If tension is a friend's complaint, an hourlong video of fish gliding through an aquarium might hit the spot. Or, for those more into fire than water, there's one showing no more or less than fire crackling in a fireplace. No commercial interruptions.
Artist/writer Peter Widing Frey invented the taillight goblets for quaffing champagne. They're available at $100 a pair (no singles) by mail order from his company, called Brainstorm. Phone (818) 995-8035.
Frey also invented the ultimate, high-tech Oriental eating tool, which he calls Chopstech. The tool looks remarkably like a pair of chopsticks made of anodized aluminum in the color of your choice. Frey says with a straight face that they are computer designed for perfect balance. Each set includes a blueprint showing two views of a Chopstech, along with dimensions, materials and machining specifications. At $50 a set, they come with a leather case from Geary's or Joseph Magnin in Beverly Hills, or Ingear in Canoga Park.
For those more interested in children than in drinking out of taillights and eating with high-tech tableware, there is Fun Furniture, a store on Beverly Boulevard specializing in designer furniture for youngsters. Their $125 building-block chair is three hunks of fabric-covered foam held together by Velcro. Children can pull the chair apart and rearrange it to suit their fancies.
The 6-month-old store also features $45 step stools shaped like the Parthenon or a California mission so a kid can stand on a bit of history while brushing his or her teeth. For more contemporary Californiana, there's a $125 set of corner shelves in the form of a seven-foot palm tree. All the furniture was designed by architect Gary Gilbar, who owns half the store.
For Big Spenders
If you regard yourself as a big spender, furniture more to your taste may include a $10,000 one-of-a-kind coffee table. It's a 4-by-4-foot hunk of -inch-thick glass perched on an Offenhauser racing car engine made in the late 1930s. The table is mounted on wheels and comes complete with steering wheel so you can maneuver it around your living room. But you've got to push--the engine doesn't run.
Should you have more than $10,000 to spare, perhaps you'd like to make a child happy with a $12,500 half-size model of a Ferrari racing car powered by an 11-horsepower single-cylinder gasoline engine.
And to drive the coffee table or the car, a pair of driving moccasins at $39.95 might be nice.
The table, car and shoes all are available at Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories in Beverly Hills.
Thoughts of $10,000 coffee tables and $12,500 kiddie cars may send your blood pressure skyrocketing. Perhaps you can bring it down to earth for $24.95 with an hourlong video of tropical fish slipping through the aerated waters of an aquarium to the tune of bubbles. If you'd rather relax in front of a fire than a fish, you can order a video hour's worth of crackling fireplace action. In either case, you can satisfy your want by calling (212) 496-4400 any time of day or night with your Visa or MasterCard number, or by writing Relax Video, 2901 Broadway, Suite 128, New York, N.Y. 10025.
All this Beverly Hills and New York shopping may not be your style. In that case, a trip to your nearest Sears Christmas catalogue (or store) will put you in touch with a suit of armor that, the catalogue says, is a "re-creation of the armor worn by Charles V's knights of the Holy Roman Empire." The armor is more than six feet tall, weighs upward of 100 pounds and, a Sears spokeswoman noted, "it definitely was not designed to wear. The legs are mounted on a base and you'd have to have an awfully small head. It's a conversation piece." When you're in the mood to spend $2,900 for conversation. . . .
A Piece of Manhattan