The presence of Christmas present


    A few weeks ago I began pondering Christmas-what’s “hot” enough this year to melt plastic? Of course, I mean the gold or platinum variety worn thin from frequent slides through scanners. I set out for an Elve’s Day journey through town and compiled this highly selective list of treats that Santa shouldn’t miss.

    First stop was Cross Creek where the estate jewelry at Atlantis crooned its siren song. If you have a pretty teen on your list, don’t forget to pick up a sleek and soft fur vest-a bargain at $70- and for mom, the cut velvet poncho in a rainbow of solids is an excellent choice.

    Since I was checking my list for who was especially “nice” this year, I couldn’t forget little Big Mac, the family pet, so over to Pet Headquarters where I found canine Christmas cookies he is sure to love and pet-free neighbors picking out furry and feathered friends of their own.

    Heading toward Marmalade for a quick bite, I spied my first irresistible reward for being a good Christmas elf-ruby slippers fit for a quick click to Oz on the cold and rainy days to come. Malibu Athletics carries these embroidered gems-fleece-lined, backless Ugg mules with thick rubber souls, such a great find my sister followed me in to buy a pair for herself. Toes toasty in our new shoes, we strolled across the street to Tops, my favorite store of all. From the sexy-chic sizzling scented bath salts at $5.50 each to museum-quality folk art in the thousands, there’s something to delight everyone on your list. I picked up one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers like the rubber mouse door stoppers from France ($22), the flying-out-the-door mermaid bottle openers ($25) and the really silly floating toothbrushes in Muscle Man and Last Supper motifs ($5). The best buy is a Lee Neary carved wooden epigram with quips like “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here” and the skier’s “Not all the flakes fall from the sky” ($55). Neary’s work has just been added to the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Folk Art. For someone very special, check out Miranda Hicks hand-sculpted silver crosses and chains, studded with luminous semi-precious stones-a steal at $500.

    Thinking of jewels sent me across the parking lot to Laura M. where the immortal purr of Eartha Kitt murmured in my mental ear, “Santa, I want a diamond ring”-earrings, that is. Everyday diamond sparklers come in the shape of simple, tasteful diamond hoops just big enough to hug the lobe and important enough to say, “I love you”-almost a carat of joy at a price that only singes the plastic ($900). Laura M. also has wonderful, hand-made knotted jade and silk bracelets to tuck in a stocking starting at $28.

    Wandering back across the parking lot, I suffered my first plastic attack of the season at 98% Angel. I simply could not decide between the glamour of an all-over, iridescent beaded sheath and the velvet and organdy rose petal party dress in the window. Buy them both, Santa decreed, and then there were buttons and bows and baby blankets for my niece’s newborn. A serious meltdown, indeed.

    Fashionistas claim that the good gifts this year are accessories-a stroll brought us to La Chaussure where my sister sacrificed her gold card for a supple kid mail bag, fringed and studded with brass by the inimitable handbag designer, Isabelle Fiore, and I bought my club-hopping buddy a crystal coated compact ($95).

    We headed west to see what goodies the other end of town might offer and discovered a newly hatched “book store” tucked in the back of Zuma General Store. It’s always a fun place to poke around, but this season offers a few must-haves like the scrunchable straw cowboy hat that pops back into shape ($44) and the big, brightly colored wagons and beach chairs strong enough to withstand a Santa Ana. Don’t forget the adjacent tide pool with its glittery shell ornaments ($2.95), Carol’s own handcrafted magnets ($4.95) and, best of all, the luminous shell plaques with every penny of the proceeds going to benefit K9 World, the guide dog charity.

    If, like me, you’re too tired from shopping to trek another foot, why not fill out your list with paper gifts? No, not something impersonal like checks, I mean service certificates such as 10 weeks at Malibu Yoga or a membership at Malibu Gym. I’m opting for a spa day at Veronica’s and giving a friend a psychic reading from Malibu Shaman.

    You could even splurge and call up Malibu’s “psychic to the stars,” Averi, for an unforgettable gift for yourself.