The Post picks exciting gift items Essay

In shopping the Post’s gallery of Christmas gift suggestionsthis year, you may have one big problem. Whatever you select, giving itaway may require more will power than you possess. The answer, as youbrowse among these items, is to keep repeating, “It’s moreblessed to give. . .

it’s more blessed to give. . . .

” Of course, there’s no reason you can’t add a gift or twofor yourself. Or drop a subtle hint to your beloved that you’d behappy to find one of these items under your own Christmas tree. Some of these innovative gift items may not yet have reached thestores in your area.

In that case, you can order them (except for ThisGreat Land and the Electronic Learning Aids) direct from HammacherSchlemmer, New York, New York. Le Petit Electric Mincer: There will be no mincing around when yousee this one. Not unless your gift recipient cooks for threshers.Designed to prepare small amounts of seasonings, vegetables, condimentsand garnishes quickly and easily, this French import minces garlic,onions, parsley, hardboiled eggs, cheese, nuts and even coffee beans inseconds. Plugs into household outlet.

Pressing the container top startsthe stainless-steel blade rotating. Container and blade easily rinsed.Height is 6-1/2 inches; diameter is 3-1/4 inches. It holds one cup.$32.95.

Stock Market Monitor: Let’s say hubby drags home all out ofsorts because he got his socks beat off in a golf match. And the reasonwas, his mind had been on the fluctuations of his Widget Mouse Trapstock, and he couldn’t concentrate on his game. What a relief ifhe could only have pulled out his pocket-sized,microprocessor-controlled receiver and received complete,up-to-the-minute financial information wherever he was, without delay.The monitor is capable of storing and displaying data on up to 40securities selected by him: trading symbol, last sale, net change, high,low, open or close and total volume. Coverage includes the New York andAmerican stock exchanges, NASDAO, Chicago Board of Trade, ChicagoMercantile Exchange and the CEC. The unit can be used within a 50-mile radius of broadcastingcenters in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco,with other cities to be added shortly.

A tax-deductible subscription fee gives access to service. (Thefees are $25.00 to $192.50 per month for one year depending on range ofservices desired.) The hand held monitor is 5-7/8 inches long, 2-7/8inches wide, 1 inch thick and weighs 11 ounces.

$349.50. Electric Wok: Compare it with any other device on the market todayfor precise, controlled stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, braising andstewing, and you’ll find that this one wins in a walk. It is the best electric wok with a round bottom, so vital to wokcooking because it allows even heat dispersion, requires less oil andprevents hot spots that can burn food. Its quick recovery of peak heatafter adding cold ingredients assures light, crisp, stir-fried food.

The hard, steel surface cannot be damaged by cooking tools and thetemperature control will not overheat. Comes with stainless-steel lid,chromed-steel steam and tempura racks, 12-inch wooden cooking chopsticksand a manual with 31 recipes by the Chinese chef Martin Yen. $99.

50. Ergometric Exercise Bicycle: If it’s exercise and fitness youhave in mind, you’ll want to take a flyer on this. Its 44-pound,solid-steel flywheel develops more momentum than lighter flywheels, andpedaling is smoother, more comfortable and efficient.

Used in exercisecenters around the world to develop and evaluate cardiovascular fitness,the bicycle also strengthens tendons, ligaments and the muscles thatsupport the legs and trunk. Its precision resistance settings,30-minute timer and dial readouts allow the peddler to measure hisdegree of improvement in cardiovascular fitness. Completely and easilyadjustable without tools to fit riders up to 6’4″.Instructions for workouts included. $449.50. Ichi Cooking Table: You name it, this Oriental cooking table cancook it–indoors with electricity or outdoors with charcoal. Thehexagonal table, 8-1/2 inches on each side, lets six people cookindividual portions or lets you prepare up to six different foodssimultaneously.

The removable electric element heats to 450[deg.]F.near the center and 225[deg.]F. at the outer edges to cook and warmfoods. For broiling, the platter may be replaced by a steel grill, oryou may choose to fit up to six 18-inch wooden-handled, chrome-platedsteel skewers (included) into side slots for kabobs. Easily portable;sets up in just one minute.

Six 12-inch wooden tongs included.$163.50. This Great Land: For saving time, money and competition from themadding tourist crowd, nothing can beat armchair travel. And in ThisGreat Land, via the breath-taking photos by David Muench, you can travel5,000 spectacular miles–from the fogbound coast of New England throughthe endless prairie of the heartland, across the towering Rockies to thepounding surf of the Pacific Coast and on to the lush tropical strand ofHawaii.

Accompanying the 130 unique full-color photographs are sixessays by writers who evoke the sights and sounds of the regions theylove. If This Great Land isn’t in your favorite bookstore, you canorder it direct from the publisher, Rand McNally and Company, P.O.

Box7600, Chicago, IL 60680. $40. Electric Learning Aids: Oh what fun itis to learn with an electronic aid that actually talks. Yes, your childhas only to touch the keyboard of one of these sturdy, kid-sizedelectronic learning aids to enter an answer–and get a voice reply. Ifthat answer is right, the instrument will say, “You arecorrect.” If wrong, it offers encouragement.

In short, it is asclose to having a real tutor in the room as technology can come. Speak and Spell gives the child a head start in tacklingtroublesome areas in spelling, such as homonyms, irregular verb endingsand words with silent endings. Speak and Read lets children hear words as well as see them used incontext. Speak and Math has 100,000 math problems built in and makes thissubject exciting as children practice important mathematical operationsand concepts. From Texas Instruments. Retail prices vary from $39 to$55 each in most stores. Chesalturf Putting Green: For those days when a golfer only hastime to putter around, he will appreciate finding this putting greenawaiting him at the end of the livingroom fairway on Christmas morning.

The realistic, deep-textured artificial turf provides the best practicesurface for developing a par-putting technique. Carpets, floors orrubber mats simply don’t give one the same authentic feeling ofspeed, line and slope. The 4-inch diameter cups, 1/4-inch smaller thanregulation, sharpen the aim and are set off from one another fordifferent putting angles. Length allows practice of 9 feet, and aslight incline at the end develops firmness of stroke. It rolls upeasily for storage. $43.50. Electronic Digital Fever Thermometer: The days of having yourtemperature rise–because you had to wait 3 or 4 minutes for thatbreakable glass tube beneath your tongue to register–are over.

Thiselectronic job of high-impact plastic does it in about 60 seconds and isaccurate to plus or minus 130[deg.]F. Not only that, it chirps when thetemperature is reached, warns audibly when that temperature isdangerously high (above 107[deg.]F.) and has an easy-to-read LCDdisplay. It registers oral, rectal or underarm temperatures, comes withdisposable probe covers and has a safety lock to prevent children fromremoving the batteries, which are included. The length is 6-1/2 inches,and it weighs 20 ounces.

$26.50. Travel Steam Iron: If you are considering making a purchase thisChristmas for an “old smoothie,” or a young one, for thatmatter, this is it. The owner can say good-bye to professional laundryservice by steam-pressing his own clothes. Its nonstick metal soleplate with steam vents has one-third more surface area than otherminiature travel irons. Water container snaps out for convenientfilling and emptying. Temperature control adjusts for dry- orsteam-pressing of the most delicate fabrics.

A carrying case isincluded. $39.50. Cordless Food Warmer: There’s nothing quite like coming infrom the cold to a hot meal. And nothing can keep a meal hot quite likethis convenient, cordless food warmer. The nickel-plated steel exteriorhouses a block of hardened quartz heated by an electric coil. Pluggedinto a household outlet, the unit reaches a surface temperature of248[deg.

]F. in 20 minutes. When the cord is removed, the tray remainshot to the touch for about 1/2 hour. The area holds one large or twomedium-sized serving dishes. Imported from Germany. $49.50.

Electric Pasta Maker: If you think that pasta as a present has nofuture, you may be right. But there’s no quicker way to a pastalover’s heart than through a pasta maker. And here is one thatmakes up to 1-1/3 pounds from scratch in just ten minutes, in a singlechamber, and is the only unit with a blower that helps dry fresh pastaas it’s extruded so that the pieces won’t stick together. The11 different dies make everything from spaghetti, vermicelli andfettucini to linguini, lasagne, zite and gnocchi.

There are even diesfor cookies, bagels, pretzels and breadsticks. There are also ameasuring cup, instruction book and 14 recipes. $159.50. Invisible Dog Fence: For the person whose dog is going to the dogs,or the neighbor’s garbage pail, or out in the street to chase cars,the invisible dog fence will change its mind in a hurry. Harmless and humane, it consists of a nylon-covered copper wire,laid four inches below ground, which carries radio signals from atransmitter inside the house to a receiver-collar around the dog’sneck.

When the dog approaches the wire boundary, the receiver-collar”beeps” a warning that if ignored results in a mild electricshock. Because the collar puts out only 4-1/2 to 7-1/2 watts, the shock ismild but still effective in training the dog. The width of thetransmission field around the wire can be adjusted up to eight feet onboth sides. A temporary string fence (included) serves as a visual cue.With 15 minutes of training each day for a week, the dog learns to stayinside the boundaries, and the string fence can be removed. It isusable by any number of dogs more than five months old (extra receiversavailable). The receiver is water- and shock-resistant and runs on aseven-volt battery. It costs $695.

00 and includes 1,000 feet of wireand materials for installation up to one acre and is not recommended forproperty less than one-quarter acre. Extra fence and receiver collarsare available.

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