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Executive gifts range from homemade to super high-tech

Know any power couples tired of squeezing into a cramped booth for a classic strip of four photos? Buy them a Photo-Me Classic Booth for $20,000, heralded as one of the ultimate his-and-hers gifts from Neiman Marcus’s 2005 Christmas Book. Billed as a way for couples to get up close, the high-tech photo booth features a customized exterior of the plush retail store.

For $65,000, Neiman Marcus offers the 2007 special-edition Lexus, touted as the world’s first luxury hybrid performance sedan. Or consider a personal vertical takeoff and landing prototype, the M400 SkyCar, for $3.5 million.

Only want to spend $1.5 million? Award-winning entertainer Elton John will indulge one lucky buyer with a personal hour-and-a-half private concert for up to 500 people.

Perhaps the executive on your gift list would like a pet without all the fuss. For less than $100, The Sharper Image offers Robopet, a nine-inch “pet” loaded with intelligent software and acute sensors that help him move about autonomously. For only $60, the retailer offers an innovative 49-key portable piano that rolls up to a compact 10 inches by two inches. And rolling in at less than $1,000 is a faux suede massage chair in black, mocha or bold blue with built-in speakers and subwoofer. Now if it only came with laptop…

This year, even Sam’s Club jumped into the competition for fantasy holiday gifts. One $30,000 gift is available for a Las Vegas concert package for eight Parrotheads to see Mississippi’s own award-winning entertainer Jimmy Buffett. The dream package includes a backstage pass, autographed guitar, premium concert seats, Margaritaville gift basket, first-class airfare to Las Vegas, four hotel rooms for two nights and dinner for eight at the Las Vegas Margaritaville restaurant.

Looking for a more reasonable executive gift closer to home? Nicole Berto leather jackets, from $350 to $550, are selling briskly at Lady Scott on Old Canton Road in Jackson, noted storeowner Kim Sartin.

Down the street at Habana Smoke Shoppe, operations manager Jimmy Dean is working overtime to maintain supplies of Zino Platinum Crown Z Crib. The gift package features an assortment of four Zino series cigars — stretch, chubby especial, double grande and barrel — along with an exclusive Crown logo pin in an extruded aluminum Zino-crested gift box for $149.95. “I wish somebody would give me a couple of them,” joked Dean.

Lisa Ellington, part owner of The Camouflage Shoppe in Northpark Mall in Ridgeland, said sportsmen are craving the hand-carved deer antler pen and pencil set (retail $50 each) made by Arkansas craftsman Frank Henley. Also on their wish list: the Filson leather-and-lap portfolio made in fine quality leather ($85) and Filson button-down dress shirts ($115 each), sold exclusively in Mississippi at The Camouflage Shoppe, featuring lightweight and heavyweight Italian-woven plaids and solids in a cotton wool blend.

Ronnie Hames, general manager of Albriton’s Jewelers in Highland Village in Jackson, said customers are snapping up Rolexes, Waterford crystal and “any type of jewelry in a rainbow of prices.” The snazziest buy for women: the Ladies Rolex Pearlmaster for $33,000 featuring an 18-karat yellow gold case and Pearlmaster bracelet, bezel factory set with 40 baguette rubies, factory white mother of pearl dial set with 10 round rubies, 31-jewel self-winding Oyster Perpetual chronometer movement, a quickset date calendar, synthetic sapphire crystal — all pressure proof to 300 feet. “It’s the mother of Rolexes alright,” Hames joked.

Keith Kincade, who with Luke Abney, recently acquired The Rogue in Jackson from Billy Neville, said Christmas 2005 “will be the best yet.”

“We have two great belts ($325 each) from Martin Dingman crafted from a three- to five-year-old alligator and made near Harrison, Ark.,” he said. “Robert Talbot sterling silver cuff links ($275 per pair), made from 92.5% British sterling silver, come in about 400 styles with various jewelry stones and onyxes. We only keep two to three dozen at a time in the store, but if we don’t have them, we can get them.”

Other best-sellers at The Rogue: Premium Italian-made Zanella wool pants ($295 to $395), cashmere sweaters in numerous collars and colors ($149 each), a new line of three-button, side-vented, 100% wool made-in-Italy Lubiam suits “super lightweight but comfortable for year-round Mississippi weather,” said Kincade.

And the piece de résistance? A Cirrus Cashmere five-button coat ($795). “It’s my absolute favorite piece of clothing this year,” said Kincade. “It’s a great layering piece that keeps you warm yet is very stylish.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.


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