| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:14

    What will your true love say you gave him or her this holiday? Calling birds, French hens, turtle doves? Stop it. And has anyone ever really needed a partridge in a pear tree? With 12 days of Christmas and eight nights of Hanukkah but not a lot of days left to shop, here are some ideas you may not have thought of, from some Upper East Side stores you may not usually patronize. 1. I"m a hat girl myself, and if you"re buying for one who, like me, wants to look chic as she braves the cold, check out Inca"s dazzling metallic newsboy cap. With all the shimmer of golden eggs from six geese, the muted gold (or pewter) caps are 100 percent cotton on the outside, but lined with toasty warm felt. $190 Inca, 976 Lexington Ave. (near 72nd), 212-327-3007 2. In the immortal words of BeyoncÃ&Copy;, â??If I were a boyâ?¦ I would want to shave like a man, and not with some rinky-dink plastic thing from the drugstore. Amidst the old world charm of Paul MolÃ&Copy;, I found an elegant shaving set. The silver stand holds a badger-hair brush and razor, both with nylon horn handles and silver accents. I would trade in 10 lords a-leaping for one clean-shaven man. $160 Paul MolÃ&Copy; Barber Shop, 1031 Lexington Ave. (at 74th), 212-535-8461 3. Let"s talk frequent flyer miles. Kids will never get off this child-size ride-on airplane, except when they want to make it go with its remote control. All I can is Wow! You will need all 10 drummers for the drum roll this deserves. $279 Mary Arnold Toys, 1010 Lexington Ave. (near 73rd), 212-988-8426 4. Your kids go to private school, shouldn"t your pooches look like they belong there as well? I am considering getting a pet so that I can bring her in for a custom-made wool and cashmere doggie coat embellished with a crest, so she can look as though she graduated from Spence. Worn to the park, this elite breed will find themselves chased after by the calling birds. Start at $85, exclusively at Raising Rover & Baby, 1428 Lexington Ave. (near 93rd), 212-987-7683 [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="158" caption="8. Malvina L. Solomon shows off her vintage Galalith bracelets. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz"][/caption] 5. Who needs nine ladies dancing when you"ve got one precious ballerina? A picture of her in one of her many tutus is the perfect gift, especially if it"s framed in a hand-painted Pink Ballet Slipper with a swirl of ribbon around it. They have other themed frames as well (in case your tutu-wearer also likes cars and trucks.) $16 Johnson"s Frame Center, 1054 Lexington Ave. (at 75th), 212-628-2182 [caption id="" align="alignright" width="280" caption="4. Raising Rover & Baby: Shouldn"t your dog look like he goes to private school? Get a custom crested doggie coat. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz"][/caption] 6. The way turtle doves love each other, she will love this 100 percent cashmere scarf. The reason it"s a best-seller? Its wave of soft ruffles that is oh-so feminine, whether they"re peeking out from under her coat or making a show of themselves draped over her shoulders. While you"re there, you can also pick up some Italian jewelry, a glittering evening bag or some small leather goods. $110 White Tulip, 1183 Lexington Ave. (near 81st), 212-879-1100 7. There is nothing in this old-fashioned toy store that needs to be plugged in, turned on, requires a monitor, batteries or can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. All 11 pipers could find their wind instruments here, as along as they want wood, since that"s what virtually everything in the store is made of. I could not take my eyes off the stepped pyramid stacking blocks, each in a different vibrant color on the rainbow spectrum. Comes in its own, you guess it, wooden tray. $150 Enchanted, 1179 Lexington Ave. (near 80th), 212-288-3383 [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="193" caption="12. Blue Tree: Relax with cashmere and silk leopard ballet flat slippers. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz"][/caption] 8. I live in the past, at least when it comes to jewelry. I love vintage, so I was in heaven when I visited Malvina L. Solomon. I would rather have one 1950s Galalith bracelet than five golden rings. I honed in on the purple cuff injected with dots that look like the floating circles on the Wonder Bread wrapper. If I had a longer arm, I"d get one in every color. $150 Malvina L. Solomon, Inc., Art Pottery and Jewelry, 1021 Lexington Ave. (near 74th), 212-535-5200 [caption id="" align="alignright" width="187" caption="7. Enchanted: Build a colorful city with pyramid stacking blocks. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz"][/caption] 9. I would like to be reborn, if only so I could be wrapped in a plush-hooded bath towel from Karin Alexis. It comes with matching mitt for mommy to wash baby and the gift set is wrapped with a rubber ducky as the bow. Different themed material goes with each color. If my son were not 5"8 I would have bought him the brown one with the blue sports-themed band. Other motifs include cowboys, cut-out dolls, balloons and I bet if you asked, they"d make one with French hens. $54 Karin Alexis Designs, 1214 Lexington Ave. (near 82nd), 212-369-3750 10. Since an accessory can make all the difference, I found an interesting twist on the wide, high-waisted belt at Nellie M. It"s got a â??pocket attached for dough, keys or lipstick so you can go out without having to keep an eye on your purse. Perfect for maids a-milking who need their hands free. $110 Nellie M. Boutique, 1309 Lexington Ave. (near 88th), 212-996-4410 11. I have a couple of â??sports guys in my house, so luckily right in the â??hood is the perfect place to find something I know they"ll like: signed sports memorabilia. I have my eye on the photos of players diving for a base in the dirt, which is enhanced and given dimension with real dirt from Yankee Stadium. Besides baseball stuff, there"s basketball, football, golf, tennis, soccer and hockey. You might even find swans a-swimming. After shopping at the only sports bar for kids, have an ice cream cone and watch a little ESPN. I did. Memorabilia $50 and up. Last Licks Ice Cream, 245 E. 93rd St. (betw. Second and Third), 646-596-8434 12. Upper East Side partridges-in-the-know have given up the Pear Tree for Blue Tree. Doesn"t your true love deserve cashmere and silk leopard ballet flat slippers that come in a mocha-colored silk drawstring bag (And if you"re feeling generous and would like to throw in the matching shawl I saw, you"ll be hailed as a gift god.) $135 Blue Tree, 1283 Madison Ave. (at 92nd), 212-369-BLUE --

    MAY I HAVE THE ENVELOPE PLEASEâ?¦ Sometimes cold hard cash is the perfect way to show you care. Supers (even though they get their apartments for free), porters and doormen's who haven"t won the lottery's don"t make a lot, so they depend on the generosity of residents. I"m sure a gift would get you a hardy handshake and a smile, but unless the gift is a car, let"s skip the booze, fruit basket or some lovely scented candles and get right to the dough. When considering your baseline, there are three things to first consider: the size of your building, the â??luxury factor and the seniority of the staff. If you live in a small, well-run building, the more each of the few employees should get. If you live in a 10-room apartment on Fifth, Madison or Park and your neighbors are A-list celebrities and captains of industry, employees of your super-high-end building could see tips starting at $250. If your doorman remembers when your college-bound daughter was a toddler, he should get a little more. In some buildings, management sends a memo that lists the length of service of each employee's hint-hint: tips should be given accordingly. Now let"s talk your average, well-run Upper East Side building: $50 is appropriate for doormen, $100 for supers, while handymen and elevator operators are in the $20 to $30 range. If any of these people usually goes above and beyond for you (and you want to keep it that way), throw a few bucks more in the envelope. Remember, they hail the cabs, pile the garbage on the sidewalk, mop down the building, polish the brass fixtures, fix what"s broken and, last but not least, they open the door so you don"t have to exert yourself. A nice money holder card with a crisp bill in an impressive denomination is a small price to pay To Insure Proper Service. -- Lorraine Duffy Merkl writes the New York Gal column.