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Now that trips to the poles and Iditarod races have become ultrachic, can igloos for kids be far behind? Well, the clever folks at Terence Conran -- always intent on offering the unusual -- have latched on to the Arctic craze and designed an igloo playhouse. It's made in France and consists of 31 precut cardboard pieces that you put together with 64 plastic clips: The assembled igloo stands 43 inches high and 47 inches wide ($89).
407 East 59th Street/212-755-9079
Flame and Fortune
Fierce-looking stone foo dogs once served as guardians of the entrance of Buddhist temples. Later on, ceramic versions of these mythical lion-dogs were placed at either side of the door of Chinese homes to ensure long life, prosperity, and happiness. Now Luna, a Canadian company known for its Karma candles, has turned these iconic creatures into wax lions to sit on a mantel, sideboard, or table. Seven and a half inches tall, the candles burn for twenty hours, and though they bring no assurance of good fortune, they will look rather grand ($17.95 each).
47 Greenwich Avenue/212-229-2966; and 2284 Broadway, near 82nd Street/212-579-5702
A can opener that's high on style is a wonder, but when it also works like a dream it's a must-have. Ross Lovegrove's plastic opener scores on both counts. It's manufactured in Italy by Guzzini and brings a touch of fun to the boring task of opening cans ($30).
- S. FELDMAN HOUSEWARES
1304 Madison Avenue, near 92nd Street/212-289-7367
A Cool Chill
Veuve Clicquot has come up with cleverer-than-thou packaging for holiday gift-giving -- a Magic Box. When you remove the top and unfurl its folded panels, the box quickly and easily turns into a sturdy, insulated, watertight (and reusable) ice bucket for cooling the bottle of Ponsardin Champagne hidden inside. So consider the possibilities: a bubbly bash for a crowd, an ever-so-elegant tailgate picnic, a romantic evening in a rustic hideaway ($62.99).
679 Madison Avenue, near 61st Street/212-838-7500
Everything in Its Right Place
Obsessives, please take note: The CDsorter lets you add to your meticulously ordered arrangement without tediously redoing the whole stack. Say you've just bought the new Radiohead CD; to place it in alphabetical order, simply lift the top section of the rack, insert an empty tray in the proper "R" order, replace the top, add your new acquisition to the empty tray, and presto, the trays are locked together. The sorter is both compact and expandable: Units can be stacked as a tower or placed side-by-side ($19.99 for a 24-tray unit).
- GRACIOUS HOME
1220 Third Avenue, at 70th Street/212-517-6300; and 1992 Broadway, at 67th Street/212-231-7800
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