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For those with spending limits

People who aren't spending thousands of dollars on each gift can still find something special.

December 10, 2006|By Amanda Pennington

Not in the market for a new Lexus or Mercedes for a loved one? No worries, Newport-Mesa is brimming with stores that will have something for the ones you love, as well as clever hostess gifts and other knick-knacks.

Holiday parties are most likely approaching, which raises the question of what an appropriate hostess gift might be. Oftentimes the most practical gift is a bottle of wine — something that can be enjoyed by everyone at the party or can be saved for later.

"But instead of just bringing the wine, why not bring the matching glasses with it," said Bloomingdale's manager Erin Bianchi.

Bianchi said the Fashion Island store carries sets of Robert Mondavi wineglasses made by Waterford. The wine tasting collection has a glass shaped to enhance the wine tasting experience. The sets range from $25 to $65.

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That takes care of the gracious host or hostess, but what about the family?

Toy Boat has all the classic toys for kids, as well as some toys with embellishments on those classics.

Owners Gary and Diane Nauman stock their four Newport Beach stores with everything from Mattel toys to self-propelled kid cars.

But no matter how fancy toys have become, it seems there's still nothing like finding that little red wagon or tricycle under the tree. Gary Nauman said that year after year, Radio Flyer wagons, bicycles and other items remain very popular holiday gifts.

With the release of the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, "anything pirate" has been flying off Toy Boat shelves.

Other great toys Gary Nauman said kids seem to love are the Bruder trucks.

"They have such beautiful detail," Gary Nauman said. "We are amazed at how many people get these."

Gary Nauman told the story of one little boy who recently visited Toy Boat and was in need of something to "make his highways."

Toy Boat had a Bruder truck that could do just that and sold him a steamroller toy. The store also carries a slew of puzzles, games and dolls.

The toy store tries to make things as easy as possible on parents and offers free wrapping.

For the adults, Bianchi suggests a pair of designer sunglasses for women. "We are in sunny Southern California," she said.

Going on that theme, for men, she suggested to ditch buying the great, expensive cashmere sweater for a more low-key Lacoste or Burberry polo shirts, which you can snag for under $100.

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