Need Christmas gift ideas? Neiman Marcus offers gifts from houseboat to gingerbread playhouse

By Jamie Stengle, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Extravagant gifts ideas offered by Neiman Marcus

DALLAS — For those looking to splurge a bit this holiday season, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus unveiled its annual Christmas Book on Tuesday with gifts including a $15,000 edible gingerbread playhouse and a $125,000 private party organized by celebrity event planner Colin Cowie.

The annual catalog, known for expensive and often outrageous items, was revealed at Neiman Marcus’ downtown Dallas store, where some of the offerings were on display. Cowie even stood in a store window drinking tequila with two models to preview the party he’ll throw.

Neiman Marcus is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its “his and hers” gifts like a $250,000 houseboat for two. Over the decades, the series has included everything from airplanes to camels, and die-hard fans might like a $248,000 bracelet of diamond and gold charms representing past “his and hers” gifts.

Other items in the Christmas Book’s 84th edition: A $4,500 adult-size tricycle for three with seat and canopy fabrics by Tory Burch and a $1.5 million glass creation from artist Dale Chihuly for the bottom of a swimming pool. Danny Ferrington, who has made instruments for rock stars George Harrison and Keith Richards, is offering ukuleles made from gourds for $6,000.

With continuing respect for those on smaller budgets, Neiman has priced about half the of the catalog’s offerings under $250, as it did in 2009, said Ginger Reeder, vice president of public relations for Neiman Marcus.

That includes tweezers adorned with crystals for $100 or a scented candle for $95.

Reeder said the extravagant offerings not only satisfy a tradition but offer a bit of fantasy, even to those who can’t afford them. It’s fun, she said, to think about which 75 people you’d invite to Cowie’s party featuring cocktails with Tequila Avion mixed by Yusef Austin, dinner by chef Todd English and music by disc jockey Donna d’Cruz.

“I do think if there’s ever a time of year to fantasize about ‘What in the world would I do if I won the lottery,’ this is it. That’s part of our tradition,” Reeder said. “If you want something, you can get it at Neiman Marcus. If you want a houseboat for two that you can escape on, you can get it at Neiman Marcus. Or you can dream about it from Neiman Marcus.”

For those who want power in their gifts, there’s a Neiman Marcus edition Chevrolet Camaro convertible with an interior of amber leather with red accents for $75,000.

If personal attention is your thing, $9,500 buys the services of a concierge in the arty outpost of Marfa, Texas, who will create a four-night vacation for two. Need a camera to take along? A Neiman Marcus edition Leica M9 with ostrich leather trim and a matching strap goes for $17,500.

Stepping away from the festivities in the store window, Cowie said his party will be easy to host: “All you have to do is invite the guests. We’ll show up as a team and give you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”


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