Briefs: 'A Christmas Story' leg lamps replicated
Fans of the 1983 film "A Christmas Story" will recall the scene in which little Ralphie's dad is overjoyed upon receiving a floor lamp resembling a woman's stockinged leg. While his wife and kids look on in horror, the family patriarch frees the tawdry tchotchke from its shipping crate and solemnly declares it a masterpiece.
Now you can horrify your family -- or, possibly, delight those who revere the holiday classic. A company called Red Rider Leg Lamps ( www.redriderleglamps.com ) in San Diego is selling perfect replicas of the movie lamp. For just under $200, Red Rider will send you a 45-inch glowing gam, covered in sexy fishnet and perched on a black stiletto, the whole affair capped by a fringed shade.
Tasteless• Indisputably. But the perfect gift for the right person• Also indisputably. And the lamps even come in a wood crate marked "FRAGILE" -- the same foreign word that tripped up Ralphie's overexcited father. ("Hmmm. 'Fra-JEE-lay.' Must be Italian. ...")
Holiday plant buying tips
Holiday plants such as amaryllis and pointsettas can be a challenge to keep full and lush for people who don't exactly have green thumbs. Some tips on how to select and keep the plants thriving:
= Pick a plant that is not broken or bruised, and one with leaves down to its base. Cheaper plants are grown from just one branched cutting; more expensive varieties will have two or more. Typically, independent garden centers have bigger plants and a greater selection of novel varieties than mass merchandisers and supermarkets.
Be ready for anything over the holidays
A holiday is no time to discover you've run out of batteries or have no way to send leftovers home with your guests or have nothing to exchange with an unexpected gift giver. Do not despair.
Professional organizer Kim Oser, owner of Put It Away! in Gaithersburg, Md., urges stocking up on the basics "the sooner the better" before lines get longer and parking lots fill up.