Capturing the 'Charm' of Neiman Marcus' Fantasy Gifts

If the flood of retail sales forecasts for Holiday 2010 isn't enough to get you in the holiday spirit, perhaps this will: the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is out.

Source: Neiman Marcus

As usual, the book includes a number of fantasy gifts sure to capture the imagination of even the most jaded mogul.

To see all of 2010's fantasy gifts, see our slideshow.

Neiman Marcus first published its Christmas Book in 1926. The 16-page booklet was originally intended as a Christmas card to the store's best customers. Now, people look forward to it each year to see what types of extravagant gifts the staff can conjure up.

This year marks the 50th year that the catalog offers a "his and her" gift. To commemorate this milestone, the catalog includes a $248,000 bracelet with charms that depict some of the most memorable "his and her" gifts from years past. Only one bracelet will be crafted by master jewelers from a collection of 11 marquise-cut diamonds for sale. The diamonds include ones that are pink, blue and orange and will be set 18-karat white and yellow gold.

The charms on the bracelet include a replica of the Beechcraft planes that were part of the first "his and hers" gift in 1960. The planes cost $176,000, which was an eye-popping amount at the time. Those planes could speed through the sky at three miles a minute, and were available in a choice of color style and cabin arrangement.

This year, the retailer presents the MetroShip houseboat, which it calls "the ultimate romantic retreat."

Throughout the years, the retailer has offered several different modes of transportation as "his and hers" gifts, ranging from a real Chinese junk in 1962 to a hot-air balloon in 1964, and vintage motorcycles in 1992. But other odd items have been highlighted over the years, including "his and hers" camels, mummy cases, ostriches and Shar-Pei puppies.

Many of these items are never sold, but quite a few have, including one of those Beechcraft airplanes, nine of the Chinese junks at $11,500 each, a camel and the mummy cases.

Each year the limited edition Neiman Marcus car sells out within hours on the first day. This year's car, a 2011 Camaro Convertible, will go on sale at noon New York time on Oct. 19.

Last year, the company also sold seven of the "Maker's Mark Master Distiller Experience" packages at $7,500 each.

This year also marks a new milestone for Neiman Marcus: the Christmas Book will be available via iPad using the NM Editions App. Expect to see more retailers rolling out similar applications in the weeks ahead.

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