NEIMAN’S CHRISTMAS HAS NATURE ON OFFER

Byline: Holly Haber

DALLAS — There’s a new twist to this year’s Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. In addition to the usual over-the-top items, the new book offers an opportunity to make a six-figure gift to The Nature Conservancy to preserve a tract of ecologically endangered land in the U.S.
“As we are reaching into the new millennium we wanted to do gifts that keep on giving,” said Sharen Jester Turney, president of NM Direct, the catalog division. “It’s all about giving back to the future.”
Neiman’s lists a price of $200,000 to create a nature preserve under the donor’s name. Gifts are available at a variety of costs in all states, according to Bill Weeks, executive director of the conservation group.
The less affluent can participate by paying $35 to conserve an acre of rainforest in Pantanal, Brazil.
Of course, plenty of expensive toys abound in the book too. The marquee gift this year is a Boeing business jet with dining room, bedroom suite and full bath for $35 million. For $450,000, one may purchase a 181-carat briolette diamond necklace and for a mere $98,000, one may order an interactive Venturer race-car and motorcycle simulator.
Among the more whimsical items are a Salvador Dali chess set of sterling and vermeil fingers and thumbs for $15,000, the original manuscript of “The Night Before Christmas” for $795,000 and a $75 feng shui travel kit for cleansing and balancing the energy of a hotel room.
Keeping with its tradition of offering a car in the catalog, Neiman’s this year has a BMW X-5 metallic cocoa sport utility vehicle for $57,995. Only 50 will be made. For each sold, BMW will donate $1,000 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
The charitable theme runs throughout the book. Neiman’s intends to donate a percentage of sales of certain items to three charities: Habitat for Humanity, America’s Promise and Unicef. Each of those gifts are priced under $100 and they are typically best-selling items, Turney noted.
Neiman’s unveiled the gifts Monday morning with a party at the flagship for top customers. Festivities got started at 8 a.m. with bells and a blessing by feng shui master Carole Meltzer, followed by Peter Duchin and his orchestra. The event was broadcast live on the Internet and can be seen for the next three months at neiman’s.broadcast.com.
The cover of the catalog this year also is high tech, a lenticular image of butterflies, whose wings seem to flap as the page moves.