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Neiman Marcus Christmas Book History

One would be hard-pressed to find a person that has not heard of the ultimate Christmas catalog. True, most people won't order from it or even see one, but every autumn people are at least a little curious about the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog His and Her gifts.

Today's catalog has high-fashion clothing, always amazing sparkly pieces of jewelry. The higher priced the better, a few traditional food gifts and since 1959 some sort of outrageous gift. The kind of stuff the public relations people dream about.

Time Line

  • It began in 1915 as a Christmas card that invited customers to start holiday shopping.
  • It was until 1926 that the next publication appeared, a sixteen page catalog that showcased a wide variety of goods, also in a range of prices.
  • But it was in 1959 that the outrageous gifts really took off. When asked about unusual Christmas gifts, the brothers -- Stanley and Edward Marcus came up with a gift for that year. A Black Angus steer that would be delivered on hoof or in steaks, included was a silver-plated cooker.
  • The next year was the beginning of the "His and Her" gifts -- a pair of Beechcraft airplanes.
Over the years journalists would call Stanley Marcus directly, just to find out what was new for the year.

Gifts

Gifts have included: His and Her hot air balloons; camels, Egyptian mummy cases; windmills, robots, Chinese junks and submarines.

There has also been a chocolate Monopoly game, polo ponies and a 14-karat gold toy train set with a gold and diamond engine hauling four cars of loose rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds. Christi Hefner bought a chocolate Monopoly game for her famous father, Hugh Hefner.

The Neiman Marcus catalog has become the ultimate wish book with the most expensive gift of all time, an unfinished Boeing Business Jet for more than $35 million. But not all of the gifts in the book are costly. A substantial number of gifts cost less than $100.

The annual cover art has showcased leading artists ranging in a wide variety of styles including abstract, surreal and humorous. Cover artists have included such legends as Saul Steinberg, Ben Shahn, Robert Indiana and Al Hirschfeld.

The models inside also read like a who's who of the famous including early appearances by Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Morgan Fairchild, Andie MacDowell and Cybil Shepherd.

The Neiman Marcus Cars

One tradition that started in 1995 is a luxury automobile showcased each year. The first was a BMW Z2 roadster. And the cars have sold out each and every year, often in the first 24 hours of availability. But it was in 2000 that it was a bit wild when the Ford telephone lines in Dearborn, Michigan, handling the sale of the Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Ford Thunderbird, were jammed as callers flooded the automaker with orders; the new "birds" sold out in two hours.

Today, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is distributed to over one million homes worldwide and is available online at www.neimanmarcus.com.

More:
Neiman Marcus Christmas Books 2002 - 2007
His and Her Fantasy Gifts Through the Years

Source: Neiman Marcus

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