Nothing screams holiday conspicuous consumption like the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book — filled with luxury items you can only dream about. Neiman Marcus first published its Christmas Book in 1926 for its best customers. This 16-page catalog featured an assortment of pricey and unique holiday gifts for those with discerning tastes and very deep pockets. Over the years, the size of the catalog has grown exponentially — as well as the price of the most over-the-top and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts featured in between its seductive covers. This year, the Neiman Marcus 2018 Christmas Book (92nd edition, if you’re counting) is 275 pages long and features more than 823 holiday gifts. You have to browse through a lot of merchandise to get to the really good stuff: The 2018 Fantasy Gift Section that begins on page 112; the copy reads: “Get ready to be wowed by the world’s most extraordinary and exclusive gifts.” The fantasy gift section includes a 74-foot Neiman Marcus Edition Serenity Solar Yacht ($7.1 million), a wonder and wellness voyage to India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives ($630,000), Tennis Majors Tours with Sloane Stephens ($555,000), an Ultimate Vice & Virtue Clubhouse ($250,000) — you get the idea. It’s as if the lyrics of Eartha Kitt’s holiday hit, Santa Baby, became a reality (Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot / Been an angel all year / Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight”) To be fair, the catalog does feature dozens of gifts under $250, since it correctly assumes that not every customer is a multi-millionaire of billionaire.
What makes this year’s catalog notable is that includes several unique — and, naturally, very expensive, gifts for the book lover in your life. And as every bibliophile knows, the hunt for the treasure is half the fun. Buried in the middle of the catalog, on page 42, you will find the listing for this amazing book, published by the legendary German publisher Taschen, that is literally [foregive me] the size of a coffee table (it measures 19.7 x 27.6 inches): “Photographer Thomas Laird traveled to the corners of Tibet for more than a decade to capture the land’s most spectacular Buddhist murals. The result: a monument to Tibet like no other. Each limited-edition large-format tome is numbered and signed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama himself.” The book, Murals of Tibet, comes with its own custom book stand (designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian pioneer Shigeru Ban) to display this 50-pound book. Also included is a smaller illustrated scholarly companion book. The cost for this magnum opus? A cool $12,000. A pair of assistants to carry the book, place it onto the bookstand, and turn the massive pages is not included.
If the purchase of that magnificent book will break the bank, no worries — just turn to page 54. There you will find this listing for three very affordable (and remember that term is relative; remember, this is a Neiman Marcus catalog) books that can be purchased individually: “A trio that begs to be slipped under the tree, this impossibly chic collection of coffee-table books caters to the watch aficionado, the art lover, and the Ferrari buff, respectively. Enclosed in an aluminum display case designed by Marc Newson, the latter features hundreds of photos from Ferrari archives and private collectors.” The Impossible Collection of Rolex is priced at $845; The Impossible Collection of Art is $845; and Ferrari is a cool $6,000.
So if you have recently won the lotto, you can purchase the luxury yacht and all four books so that you will have some reading material for yourself and 11 guests, as you cruise the high seas in style. Otherwise, you will have to hope that you’ve been an angel all year, and Santa Baby will deliver the goods.
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For further reading: www.neimanmarcus.com/c/nm-2018-christmas-book-cat67190754