A private plane, a fictional pie, an English palace — or three? This can only mean one thing: The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is here.
For 90 years, this treasure-filled tome has set the standard for over-the-top gifting, but it’s the collection of what Neiman’s has named its “Fantasy Gifts” — unique, one-off presents, uber-exclusive trips and near-unobtainable experiences — that make this book the stuff of dreams. Really, really expensive dreams.
This morning, the Dallas-based luxury retailer opens Santa’s (designer) bag and allows a sneak peek inside its 2016 Fantasy Gifts. There are 10 packages of items and experiences in all, with prices ranging from $25 to $1.5 million, and many of the prices include a built-in donation to charity.
So for those among us who have been very, very good this year, we’ve outlined five of the most spectacular selections.
A taste of fame
A walk-on role in the Broadway musical Waitress: $30,000
Possibly the most delicious musical ever served up on Broadway, Waitress follows the dreams and heartaches of a gifted pie-baker who creates cleverly titled pies to represent important situations in her life. One of the unique elements of this production, which is based on a 2007 movie of the same name, is that actual pies are used, both as props and to fill the theater with a mouth-watering aroma.
This singular experience includes a walk-on role in the real Broadway show, along with four premium show tickets, a meet-and-greet with the cast, and a Waitress-themed pie-making lesson with the show’s pie consultant, Stacy Donnelly of the New York City bakery Cute as Cake, who taught the actors their pie-making skills and also created and makes the pies baked for the play.
This package gets sweeter with a $22,500 donation to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
Queen for a week
A week at three English estates experience: $700,000
It’s one thing to be rich, but to be royal? Well, that’s something else entirely. With this Fantasy Gift, eight lucky people will get the chance to experience living the luxe life for one week at three storied English estates. From London, the fortunate eight will be whisked via helicopter to Alnwick Castle, the 900-year-old home of the Duke of Northumberland. There, a Michelin-starred chef will whip up a gourmet feast while you all stroll through the gardens, shoot clay pigeons or re-create an episode of Downton Abbey or a favorite “Harry Potter” movie (both of which were filmed here in part).
Then it’s on to Wilton House to hobnob with the Earl of Pembroke and to explore the 16th-century estate and its 14,000 acres of verdant countryside. Rounding out the big three is Blenheim, the ancestral home of the Churchill family. The visit there will include a helicopter tour of its grounds — the 18th-century home is the only palace not owned by the British royal family — and dinners with the home’s owner, the 12th Duke of Marlborough.
This royal package includes a $20,000 donation to the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
The sky’s the limit
The Cobalt Valkyrie-X private plane: $1.5 million.
Imagine zooming through the clouds in a plane that can fly four people up to 230 miles an hour and as far as 1,150 miles. The Cobalt Valkyrie-X, boasting a 350-horsepower engine and designed by visionary aerospace engineer David Loury from carbon composite, aluminum and stainless steel, will debut in 2017, and it claims to be one of the fastest piston aircrafts in the world.
But this bird is as beautiful as she is powerful, with a rose-gold exterior, rose-gold interior controls and cream leather seats with anthracite carpets. The plane comes with 24/7 technical support in the United States for two years and the price includes a $200,000 donation to the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
A slumber party at the Neiman Marcus flagship: $120,000
For anyone who ever wished to be Eloise, this experience might be rawther one better than any overnight the beloved storybook urchin ever spent at the Plaza. First of all, there’s room for 12. Second, monogrammed pajamas are included. And last, but certainly not least, this splendid sleepover takes place at the Neiman Marcus flagship store in downtown Dallas.
Here, amid racks laden with Chanel, Valentino, de la Renta and more, this one lucky group will receive the sartorial works, like spa treatments and hair services galore and a fashion presentation hosted by Neiman’s own fashion director, Ken Downing. There’s even breakfast the next morning — as if anyone could sleep.
This package includes a $10,000 donation to the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
His & hers Neiman Marcus island cars featuring Lilly Pulitzer: $65,000 each.
It’s the 1950s in the south of France — think Nice or Cannes, or even nearby Monaco. Everywhere, glamorous vacationers like movie stars and moguls are zipping from yacht to restaurant to resort in adorable little vehicles called “island cars.”
Fast forward to today: These beloved vintage runabouts have been revived by Island Car of Florida, and the creative elves at Neiman Marcus have partnered with the company to create a his-and-hers version of their popular car that’s tricked out, from top to bottom to trunk, by a design house founded by an American icon of beach style, Lilly Pulitzer. Each car — issued in a limited-edition run of 10 each — comes outfitted with Lilly Pulitzer-print seats and removable fabric tops, along with totes, towels and beach wear: swim trunks for him, a caftan for her.
The purchase price of each car includes a $5,000 donation to the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
Also in Santa’s bespoke bag
Rounding out this year’s Fantasy Gifts:
A curated collection of 36 Caldecott Medal-winning children’s books: $10,000
One-day private quarterback camp with Joe Montana: $65,000
Infiniti Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition: $63,000
Optimist/Pessimist gifts: For the optimist, an Akola bracelet that helps women out of poverty, $25. For the pessimist, a mattress with a built-in lockbox, $25,000
An exclusive Grammy Awards experience: $500,000
If something sells out or is a wee bit beyond that holiday gift budget, don’t fret — inside the Christmas Book’s 300 pages, there are 700 more treats sure to fit nicely on anyone’s wish list. See them all at www.neimanmarcus.com/christmasbook.