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Neiman Marcus, Sam's Go High-End for the Holidays

If you're already wondering what to get for that person in your life who has everything, a couple of retailers on opposite ends of the spectrum have worked up some special offerings for you.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus offers some pricey ideas, including a $1.44 million submarine and a $75,000 robot that will talk to you. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club is going green on its exclusive gift offerings with its top gift for 2007 being a lithium-powered hybrid Smart Car for $35,000.

Neiman Marcus, celebrating its 100th anniversary, unveiled its 81st Christmas Book on Tuesday by showing off the outrageous "fantasy gifts" highlighted in the catalog that is mailed to 1.8 million people and can be found online.

"I think it captures some of the fun of the holidays that we give up as we get older," said Ginger Reeder, a spokeswoman for Neiman Marcus Direct. She points out that even if you can't afford the items, it's fun to think about what you might do with them.


For instance, where would you put a 13-foot tall tree tent that sleeps two or a 100-foot-long dragon topiary adorned with gold-leafed horns and blown glass?

Also available is a $73,000 diamond-encrusted cell phone. The Vertu Signature Diamond Phone has 7.2 carats of white and pink diamonds, works in more than 150 countries and features one-touch 24-hour global concierge service.

"It's for the woman who enjoys all the finest things in life, and why should she stop with her phone?" said David Ferguson, U.S. sales manager for Vertu.

For those looking to impress their friends, there's also a private concert with Russia's Kirov Orchestra. For $1.59 million, you and 499 friends will hear pianist Lola Astanova, led by maestro Valery Gergiev, in a show hosted by Regis Philbin in your hometown. For good measure, the Steinway concert grand stays behind.

The gifts in the catalog range from the modest — a mug filled with pretzels for $20 — to 10 acres in Montana for $2.3 million that include a share of a nature preserve and a private dinner with your choice of entertainment by violinist Joshua Bell or soprano Renee Fleming.
The "his and hers" gift this year is a chocolate portrait by Vik Muniz in which he'll capture your likenesses with the help of Bosco chocolate syrup.

Sam's Club's decision to promote a hybrid vehicle among its other pricey offerings is in lockstep with the environmental focus of its parent company which has pledged to cut waste, rely less on nonrenewable energy, prod suppliers to cut packaging and sell 100 million energy-efficient light bulbs.

But that doesn't mean the bulk and discount retailer is staying entirely green for the holidays. Some of it's other offerings include a trip for four to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing for $75,000, and a trip for four to the Nascar Sprint cup Series in Charlotte, N.C., for $24,800.

Sam’s Club is in its fourth year of offering the packages, which are highlighted in its holiday and spring catalogs, and available for sale on its Web site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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