If you haven't yet seen the 2013 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book you must
take a seat, grab your coffee and peruse the unique assortment of
fanciful gifts. What began in 1915 as a Christmas card, inviting customers to the store to start their holiday shopping, turned into the store's official Christmas catalog in 1926, with 16-pages showcasing the unusual and beautiful gifts in a variety of prices, with an emphasis on selectivity and taste.
In 1959, in an answer to press inquiries about unusual Christmas gifts, Stanley Marcus and his brother, Edward brainstormed about an extraordinary gift to offer customers that year: a Black Angus Steer, delivered on the hoof or in steaks, complete with a silver-plated serving cart. The response was tremendous and "His and Hers" gifts gained fame the following year with a pair of Beechcraft airplanes. Alas, a world famous retailing phenomenon was born!
Through the years, Neiman Marcus has offered "His and Hers" hot air balloons, Chinese junks, robots, windmills and other unusual, but always functional, gifts. Other unique Christmas Book items have included: a $20 million submarine, mummy cases that contained an actual mummy, seats from Ebbets Field (the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, before it's demolition in 1960) and a Dale Chihuly Pool Sculpture Installation.
The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book has evolved into the ultimate wish book. Pages filled with aspirational gifts, fit for the person who has everything. While many of the gifts are costly (an unfinished Boeing Business Jet for $35 million anyone?), a sensational number of gifts cost less than $250.
Since it's inception, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book has commissioned leading artists to design the cover, including Saul Steinberg and Al Hirschfeld. Each year, a highly sought after car is presented for purchase and sells out, often within 24-hours. Another longstanding tradition of the Book, is the selection of one philanthropic organization to serve as the recipient of a portion of sales from a select item(s). This year, the high-end retailer will donate a portion of the proceeds from each Fantasy gift purchase to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, an organization that brings enriching art experiences to youth in communities nationwide.
While the Fantasy Gifts are aspirational and quite expensive, Neiman Marcus offers several fabulous items at a great price point, such as house wares, apparel, accessories and an assortments of yummy treats. Click here to see the online version of The Christmas Book, but beware... it will get you in the holiday spirit!