Customs: But Once a Year

  • Share
  • Read Later

(7 of 8)

∙HOUSEWARES: Old French decanters ($7 up), chafing dishes (from $15), wine racks (from $10), English pewter, Danish salad bowls and cheese boards. There are plenty of electrical gadgets for pushbutton minds; electric can openers and knife sharpeners (around $29.95), bun warmers ($9.95), silver polishers ($29.95), even electric pepper mills ($6.50).

∙FURS: Mink coats always sell well for Christmas, but the trend this year is to small evening pieces, such as ascots ($80), short jackets ($595-$895) and stoles ($695). Lord & Taylor has a French sheared rabbit that is made to look like chinchilla ($695) and a sheared rabbit dyed bright red that looks like a sheared rabbit dyed bright red ($350).

∙BAGS & GLOVES: Partly as a result of the Jackie Kennedy influence, long kid gloves are the big fashion ($10-$25). Even bigger are handbags, which women seem to require in huge numbers. French beaded evening bags are in demand ($25-$125), and alligator is the latest thing for evening wear ($150). If a woman already has alligators, try antelope ($170).

∙JEWELRY: Last year's leader was beads. This year it is pins, particularly in textured fake gold. Link bracelets are out, bangles are in. Rhinestones, which went out in 1953, are back. Buddha pins in fake jade are selling at Lord & Taylor, and so are necklaces of uniform-sized cultured pearls.

∙BOOKS & RECORDINGS: Next to clothing, wine and liquor, these are about the safest presents for the men on the shopping lists. To the annoyance of the old-time bookstores, discount stores around the country are buying up bestsellers and selling them at cut rates. But the emphasis is on the heavy, special (and higher-priced) gift books (TIME, Dec. 8). The newly translated French food classic, Larousse Gastronomique ($20), has proved the bestselling sleeper of the season. As for records, the rule is, when in doubt, buy a collection (selected opera arias, the nine Beethoven symphonies, etc.) rather than single issues.

∙TOYS: The toy industry rakes in 60% of its billion-dollar-plus business in the Christmas season, and small wonder: most of last year's toys are rubble by now, thanks partly to a child's built-in facility for destruction and partly to the built-in destructibility of many modern toys. Electric trains, construction sets, Monopoly-style games, and books still have a worthy durability, never go out of style. Gilbert's old reliable Erector Sets now include the materials to build rocket launchers and satellite trackers. Scientific toys, regular catalogue items for four years at F.A.O. Schwarz and other big stores, are even bigger this year. Latest entrant: General Electric, which is aiming at the pre-teen market with a variety of advanced do-it-yourself kits (analogue computer, transistor radio, electricity lab). Two big sellers are Ohio Art's Magnastiks, a construction toy that utilizes a magnetic field, and Etch A Sketch, an updated and challenging version of the old magic slate idea.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8