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Hottest presents range from tech gadgets to simple traditional

From affordable to extreme, executive gift-giving suggestions

Forget meeting quotas and compiling the annual report. For some employees and associates, finding the right holiday gift for the boss, whether a small business owner or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, is often the biggest challenge of the year. The Mississippi Business Journal surveyed the business community and came up with a few suggestions, from the affordable to the extreme.

Golfers are nuts about the SkyGolf GPS, a product developed by Sky Hawke Technologies in Ridgeland, that helps them play better, smarter, faster, and have more fun. Dubbed the SG2, the next generation rangefinder retails for $329.95 at Nevada Bob’s, where a spokesperson at the Jackson store said it was one of the hottest items this year, and at pro shops and other retail golf stores worldwide. For product information, visit www.skygolfgps.com/products/sg2.asp.

Business travelers can lighten the load when they travel by plane with the Dallas-based Cargo Golf-designed Pro-Series hybrid travel bag, which has a hard cover to protect clubs, but is light enough to take straight to the golf course. It retails for $165, and for an additional $20, the bag comes with folding legs that prop it up on the course.

Three top sellers for sports collectors this holiday season include a five-by-seven triple framed and autographed photo of golf legend Jack Nicklaus ($700), an autographed and framed photo of Tiger Woods’ “Sweet Swing” ($950) and a Michael Jordan-autographed and framed University of North Carolina photo with jersey number 23 ($650).

“A few months ago, we sold a $1,500 Jordan North Carolina jersey to a firm in North Carolina when their president was retiring,” said John Mooney, president of Jackson-based Sportscards International (www.sportscardintl.com). “Collectibles like these usually range from $500 to $1,500, and all come with certificates of authenticity from Upper Deck Authenticated, the premier autograph authentication firm in the country. They do pay the bucks for exclusive rights of the autograph of the stars and are usually on target with their choices such as Tiger.”

SOUTH magazine rounded up some of the priciest “boys’ toys” in its premiere issue, including the $90,000 and up Panoz Esperante, $30,000 or so Triton 2895CC speed boat, $19,000 Harley Davidson 100th anniversary VRSCA V-Rod, and the over-the-top Bombardier Challenger 800, the world’s best-selling jet in its class, with more affordable parting gifts, such as the Armand Diradourian cashmere throw at $765 a pop, or a Polartec Aircore 200 Land’s End throw for less than $30.

SOUTH gave a nod to women in its November/December 2003 issue with Snuglets convertible jewelry (prices vary), made and sold exclusively by Juniker Jewelry in Highland Village in Jackson, teeth-whitening certificates, must-have shoes, pink sapphires, silk umbrellas, mock-croc handbags and — what female CEO could not resist? — a paperweight replica of a diamond ring from Nancy Price Interiors in Jackson.

If a fine pen is a safer choice, a wide assortment of prices and styles is available. Consider the limited edition Aurora Leonardo DaVinci Fountain Pen, made in Italy ($1,600), or the Namiki Rollerball ($1,500), with a complementary style fountain pen ($2,000). The exclusive “Nightline” Namiki pen is made from hand-laid Abalone shells with 24-carat gold, comes in an exquisite presentation box with a bottle of ink, papers of certification and the story behind its making.

“You can get pens in the $200,000 range, but we don’t stock them,” said Judy Woodley, owner of Pen & Ink of Mississippi on Lakeland Drive in Flowood. “However, we can get them. There are a number of fine writing instrument companies from Europe, the U.S. and Japan.”

Even though limited edition John Grisham books are always a fave (prices vary), Lemuria Bookstore’s Johnny Evans said popular gift-giving books this holiday season include A Very Southern Christmas, a collection of Christmas stories by well-known southern authors published by Algonquin Books ($15.95) with a Wyatt Waters watercolor cover, and Jim Frasier’s The French Quarter of New Orleans, a historical book with photographs tracing landmark events of New Orleans’ most famous district, published by the University Press of Mississippi ($45).

For a sure-fire hit, give a Mississippi-made gift. The Mississippi Gift Company’s Best of Mississippi Basket ($57) includes a Mississippi Mud Fudge Cake, Mississippi Pecan Pepper Jelly, fried green tomato salsa, Mississippi Classic Cheese Straws, chocolate chip pecan cookies, barbecue sauce and the latest issue of Mississippi magazine. (For product information, visit www.msgifts.com.)

“The Best of Missis-sippi Basket is new this year, and we’ve al-ready had orders from our Web site,” Mississippi Gift Company CEO Cindy Tyler said in mid-October. “The Mississippi Memories Basket, with classic cheese straws, crisp sweet pickles, sweet potato pie mix, caramel icing, muscadine hot pepper jelly and praline pecans, is always a good seller, and a more holidayish one is the Mississippi Christmas Basket. After all, sharing tradition and good food with friends and family is what Mississippi is all about, especially during the holidays.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at mbj@thewritingdesk.com.


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