Instead of a lump of coal, how would you like to find a 30.86-carat diamond in your stocking? The $6.1 million heart-shaped gem is the most expensive gift in the year's edition of the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.
The Dallas-based department store unveiled its holiday catalog, which features the Mughal Heart Diamond and six other fantasy gifts. Designing the nearly 100-page book takes months of planning.
“It takes over 2,000 hours of effort and big teams across the organization contributing,” explained Daz McColl, chief marketing officer at Neiman Marcus.
Like other years, the gifts aren’t limited to physical items. The second priciest on the list is a $395,000 private party for 20 on the stage of the legendary Apollo Theater, complete with a Roaring Twenties theme. Two of the fantasy items have an eco-friendly twist: a $345,000 sustainability-focused shopping experience, along with a $285,000 customized fully-electric Hummer truck and auto auction package.
Photos: Check Out The u2018Fantasy Gifts' in the 2021 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book
The rest of the list will take buyers on getaways to remember. A three-day luxury ski trip for six to Jackson Hole costs $235,000, and it includes a day on the slopes with Olympian Lindsey Vonn. Take a luxury tour of Portugal and bring home custom porcelain dinnerware for $80,000.
The least expensive fantasy gift is a family trip to London, and the chance for your child to have a personalized book written about them. It’s McColl’s favorite gift.
“The idea of a family being able to have that experience and create that book together is a really good symbol of the love and relationships we have at Neiman Marcus, and how we think about our customers,” he said, explaining that some of the price benefits the Boys and Girls Club.
Curating the luxury wish list takes a team effort.
“Some of them we dream up and then work with partners to build and create,” said McColl. “And sometimes we have partners that come to us each year and say, ‘We have this, we’d love it to be a fantasy gift.’”
The fantasy gift tradition began in 1959, when Stanley Marcus decided to sell a steer which customers could have delivered live or as steaks. Later decades brought extravagances ranging from Hawaiian homes or a $20 million submarine to a life-sized longhorn desk. The opulence wasn’t limited to the items inside the Christmas Book’s pages. Pet cats delivered leather-bound catalogs to dozens of people around the country, jetting around on private planes in 1977.
Like other years, the store’s holiday celebration isn’t limited to its gift guide. McColl said they’re hard at work on experiences inside stores for customers.
“Quite a few of our stores will have what we call Instagram windows where you can actually get inside the window yourself and have a photo taken as if you’re in a snow dome.”
McColl acknowledged there’s some uncertainty heading into the holiday season as companies deal with supply chain issues and shipping delays. He said Neiman Marcus has faced a few challenges already, but believes they’re in a good position. Still, he encouraged customers to check off their holiday shopping lists early, in case problems pop up down the road.
“I think that’s going to be the smart play this year,” he advised.
While customers are just beginning to dream about what might wind up under their tree this holiday, McColl said his team is already starting work on next year’s holiday offerings. Design on packaging for things like popcorn and cookies began last month and a couple months after Christmas they’ll begin brainstorming themes.
“We’re always excited about bringing that joy and magic to our customers.”