I had planned to do this whole week long post of "Expensive Stuff That Really Works" but when I started in on the research for that Chanel Sublimage Eye cream that plan fell by the way side. I know there are a few expensive things in the world that are worth the money, but I just didn't have the time or resources to do an entire week long series for you. What I had planned on doing was ending the week with information about the ultimate indulgence, the fantasy gifts from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. Not everyone gets the Christmas book, and I thought it would be fun to look at some of the really over the top gifts that Neiman Marcus is offering this year. So take a ride with me and your fantasy check books that contain millions of dollars and let's do some shopping!
The 85th edition of the legendary Christmas Book continues Neiman Marcus’s unmatched tradition of offering its customers a selection of spectacular and unique holiday gifts sure to make even their wildest dreams come true. To many, the arrival of the Christmas Book is considered the official start of the holiday shopping season. First published in 1926 as a 16-page booklet, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book was initially intended as a Christmas card to the store’s best customers. Building on tradition through the years, the book has maintained its personal touch while evolving into a legendary source for alluring and mystical gifts. Eight of the fantasy gifts offered in the Christmas Book feature a unique charitable component. The 2011 featured charities include Water.org, the Double H Ranch, Stone Barns Center, First Book, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, amfAR™ and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Among the selection of fantasy gifts in the 2011 Christmas Book are some remarkable items, including:
“HIS & HERS” 2011 DANCING FOUNTAINS FROM WET
Founded in 1983 in Sun Valley, California, WET has become the foremost pioneer in creating state-of-the-art fountain technology. For the first time ever, the company will bring its magic to a private residence and create a personal scale fountain showcasing two of its amazing underwater robot nozzles. Individually programmable, each fountain will have a full range of motion, which adds personality and versatility to their performances. The elegant duo whirls, twirls, sweeps, and bows—sometimes in unison, sometimes as counterpoints, but always with engaging grace. These beautiful fountains will thrill onlookers for a lifetime, while their purchase will touch the lives of hundreds. Neiman Marcus will donate $10,000 of the proceeds to Water.org, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. A second package offered by WET—will grant one person the once-in-a-lifetime experience of choreographing a song to be performed by The Fountains of Bellagio. Just one of these packages will be available and $5,000 of the proceeds will benefit Water.org as well.
(Dancing Fountains, $1,000,000.00; page 57; Guest Choreographer package, $500,000; information available online only)
NEIMAN MARCUS-EDITION HACKER-CRAFT SPEEDBOAT
Chart a glamorous course in what is considered by boating enthusiasts worldwide to be the gold standard of pleasure boating. Entirely handbuilt in the USA, this 27-foot, solid mahogany wonder is the result of 1,400 hours of meticulous craftsmanship. Underneath 15 coats of handbrushed varnish and premium mahogany sits a glistening Mercury Marine 8.2 High Output 425-horsepower engine-CE, also compliant for use in Europe. A custom-designed bow burgee, gold-leafed waterline, underwater lighting, and deep violet bottom are among the rich details exclusive to the NM edition, which will feature the name you bestow it in gleaming 23-carat gold leafing. The ultra-posh, customized interior includes cream-colored seating with purple piping, a monogrammed humidor, topnotch refrigerator, GPS, and premium stereo sound system. Also included are the all-important sea trial, commissioning, and instructions in operation and maintenance. For every speedboat sold, Neiman Marcus will make a $3,000 donation to the Double H Ranch, a program that provides year-round support for families with children affected by life-threatening illnesses. Co-founded by Paul Newman and Charles R. Wood, the ranch offers unique camp experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, and empowering. ($250,000.00; page 58)
DAYTRIP TO STONE BARNS FARM
The idyllic Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is located just 25 miles north of Manhattan in the countryside of Pocantico Hills, New York. Its mission is simple: Improve the way Americans eat and farm. Within this picturesque 80-acre compound resides the critically hailed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which offers multiple-course “farmer’s feasts,” prepared from the day’s harvests. Gather six friends and head to the farm, where your group will participate in a hands-on learning experience. Farmer Jack Algiere will host an “edible garden lesson” and help participants plot their own home-based garden. Next, you’ll receive a cooking demonstration from Chef-Kitchen Director Adam Kaye, followed by a four-course lunch featuring the best seasonal ingredients. The purchase of this package benefits the nonprofit Stone Barns Center with 100% of the proceeds. For more ways to support the farm, Neiman Marcus is offering a luxury weekend for two at Stone Barns that includes a full-access, behind-the scenes tour of the farm and a dinner prepared by executive chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill. If you can’t make a trip to the farm yourself, you can still make your presence felt by giving a gift that will help keep the honeybees happy and productive – a jar of local honey. (Daytrip: $9,500.00; page 59; Luxury Weekend for two: $20,000; Jar of local honey: $45; information available online only)
ASSOULINE CUSTOM-BUILT LIBRARY
The publishing house renowned for its beautiful volumes and cultural perspective is offering the ultimate enriching addition to your home: a bespoke library. From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, every nuance of this room will reflect Assouline’s brilliant style—through custom carpeting, objets d’art, and beautifully framed prints—as well as your intellectual viewpoint. When the decor is complete, the shelves will be lined with a one-of-a-kind Assouline collection, consisting of 250 current and vintage volumes in the genre of your choice. Enjoy published works from the world’s foremost artists, photographers, writers, architects, interior designers, and fashion and culinary masters. With this purchase, Neiman Marcus will donate $2,500 to First Book, an award-winning nonprofit organization that provides access to new books for children in need throughout the U.S. and Canada. ($125,000.00; page 60)
INTERNATIONAL FLOWER SHOW TOUR, ARRANGED BY JETWAY PRIVATE AIR
Round up nine friends and head to Europe’s most celebrated flower shows, organized by the exclusive private jet-chartering company, JetWay Private Air. Your journey begins May 12, 2012, where you’ll hop across the pond in first-class style on a Gulfstream G-IV—with a JetWay representative as your group’s guide, concierge, and wine aficionado. Your tour will begin in Merges, Switzerland, at The Tulip Festival, where Lake Geneva provides a sparkling backdrop to 300 varieties of some 100,000 tulips. Later, rest and relax in luxury at the Hotel Lausanne Palace & Spa. Next, you’ll fly to Athens, Greece, home of the Kifissia Flower Show, a lavish display of more than 2,000 native and foreign plant species. After a lovely promenade, enjoy superior accommodations at Hotel Grand Bretagne. Your next stop: Avignon, France, where the Altera Rosa Festival awaits. The garden boasts an extensive collection of established rose breeds, which comingle with 30 new species introduced each year. Afterward, head to the Hotel d’Europe Avignon. Finally, you’ll visit London, England’s renowned Chelsea Flower Show, site of The Daily Telegraph Garden. Later that night, you’ll bask in the beauty of the historic Goring Hotel. This package includes two nights and three days at each destination, gourmet in-flight meals, private ground transportation, and flower show tickets. With the purchase of this excursion, Neiman Marcus will donate $5,000 to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, an organization devoted to increasing the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes. ($420,000.00; page 61)
Ever wish you could cross your arms, bat your eyes, and escape to a serene place all your own? Our “Dream Folly” is inspired by the classic 1960s TV show I Dream of Jeannie. Starting with a sturdy 18-foot-diameter yurt—a structure invented centuries ago by ancient Mongols—from Rainier Yurts, “Dream Folly” is the ideal simulation of a genie’s posh bottle. The structure consists of a mixed-grain interior lattice system, a Sunbrella® exterior lining, and a plexiglass door and dome. The roof is made from vinyl-coated polyester with an acrylic top coat for extra durability. But it’s the interior that goes beyond your wildest, most decadent dreams. Let’s start with the pièces de résistance: a bevy of one-of-a-kind, down-filled pillows from renowned designer Rebecca Vizard. Vizard built a workshop in her rural hometown of St. Joseph, Louisiana, where she and a group of craftsmen create these plush accessories—all by hand—from the finest textiles. In addition to the pillows, Vizard designed every detail of this space and selected colors to evoke the bubbles of a warm, soothing bath. The room’s other noteworthy embellishments include linen wall coverings by Coleman Taylor Handpainted Textiles in Montgomery, Alabama, and a custom, handcrafted crystal chandelier from New Orleans-based Julie Neill Designs. You can choose a different color scheme and decor from the ones depicted in the Christmas Book. The “Dream Folly” stands 12'5" tall with an 18’ diameter. For every retreat sold, Neiman Marcus will donate $5,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (Beginning at $75,000.00; page 63)
JOHNNIE WALKER® PRIVATE SCOTCH TASTING
In 1820 Kilmarnock, Scotland, an enterprising young man named Johnnie Walker created powerful scotch blends that remain unrivaled in taste to this day. Now you can experience the smoothness of these perfectly aged libations during The Ultimate Scotch Tasting—your chance to host a truly exceptional gathering in the comfort of your own home. You and 20 guests will be entertained by an authentic Scottish bagpiper, while a Master of Whisky relays the history and palatable attributes of the five premium marques in the Johnnie Walker portfolio: the Blue, Black, Gold, Red, and Green Labels. A top-notch event planner will be on hand to orchestrate the entire evening. Guests will leave with a custom-engraved bottle of Johnnie’s premium-blend Blue Label for their personal enjoyment. 100% of the proceeds from this tax-deductible event will go directly to amfAR™, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Five available. ($5,000.00; page 64)
TOM BURR TABLE-TENNIS TABLE
Noted artist Tom Burr brings his modern aesthetic to your home in the form of a beautifully rendered table-tennis table, which also doubles as a contemporary work of art. Originally, the game of table tennis was favored by 19th-century British society before staging its most recent comeback among hipsters, families, and serious competitors alike. This limited-edition table, perfectly sculpted from a distinctive choice in material—black rubber—turns ordinary sporting equipment into the sublime. As Burr notes, “I like the notion of rubber. It has low-key glamour, like that of a sports car’s bumpers and guards. And, quite simply, rubber makes the balls bounce—more bounce for your buck.” For each table sold, Neiman Marcus will donate $2,500 to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s mentoring leader in changing children’s lives for the better, forever. The table measures 9'L x 5'W x 30"H. Limited edition of 10 available. ($45,000.00; page 65)
THE 2012 FERRARI FF, BESPOKE FOR NEIMAN MARCUS
The NM exclusive edition of the 2012 Ferrari FF jumps from 0 to 60 in less than 3.7 seconds and reaches top speeds of over 200 MPH. The top-of-the-line model features 651-horsepower and a V12 engine, a proprietary, lightweight 4WD system (4RM™), as well as a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission for seamless automatic shifting. Each car is identified by a numbered interior plaque and unique exterior color, “Grigio Caldo.” The interior features soft-touch, semi-aniline leather with a matching custom luggage set. It comfortably seats 4 adults and features a class-leading 16 cubic feet of trunk space. The vehicle comes with Ferrari’s 7-year maintenance plan, and enrollment in the 2012 Ferrari Winter Driving Experience in Aspen, Colorado. 10 available. Reserve your Ferrari FF by calling 800.558.0022 beginning promptly at 12:00 PM EDT on Thursday, October 27, 2011. Delivery to occur in Spring 2012. ($395,000.00; page 170)
If money was no object...which one(s) would you choose?