Santa, Baby

or, Fiddling While Rome Burns

At a very swank affair on Saturday night my dinner companions were both youngest boys, a breed I find completely charming and irresistible. Mr. Blandings is one. I was telling the gentleman to my left that we are managing expectations at the Dream House this year. While in years past the boys made lists pages long, this year I told them, "I want to see ten things. The ten most important things, and nothing else." Furrowed brow from the oldest; this would clearly require some thought. Shrug from the youngest and most agreeable. "What?! Are we only getting ten things for Christmas?" cried the middle. "Maybe not even ten." Complete and total disbelief.

So the delightful gentleman to my left queried, "What are you getting Mr. B?" I told him we have a deal to not exchange gifts and I do hope we can stick to it though we really enjoy buying presents. "Assuming budget was no issue, what would your ten things be?" Clever boy.

The Paloma Piccasso Sugar Stack rings from Tiffany, which we both agreed that while three are clearly needed, as a set they would count as one item.

South Sea pearls. Black.

Largish, but not too large, diamond studs.

Cartier Tank, preferably vintage.

A piece from the H. Stern Star collection.

A small Henry Moore sculpture.

Also, a small Calder mobile.

Jasper Johns, the number 4.

Irish Georgian mirror for the hall.

Harry. This brings with it some inner turmoil as I realize now that it was my father's mid-life crisis car but I cannot shake the joy and excitement he, the car, brought to my growing up.

I think my dinner companion enjoyed the game, though some of the items on the list had to be explained. Surprising, really, that one would not know what South Sea pearls are. Will Mr. Blandings and I stick to our "no gifts" rule this year? All joshing aside, we have everything we need and we know it. Topping the list would be extraordinary friends who are happy to help build castles in the air.

South Sea pearls and other amazing pieces available at Tom Tivol & Wanda Allen's new shop in Bank of Prairie Village building at 3515 W. 75th Street in town. The studs are from 1st dibs new jewelry selections. H. Stern is available in town at Tivol. Henry Moore image from My Favorite Things by Dororthy Rodgers, Avenel 1964. Calder mobile in the home of Todd Klein, Elle Decor, December, 2008; photography by Simon Upton. John's image Southhampton, NY home, architecture John Mayfield, design Mariette Himes Gomez, Architectural Digest. Irish Georgian mirror from Michael S. Smith, Elements of Style.