Nordstrom's Ultimate Gift Guide

Department stores are famous for their blow-out holiday promotions. Right now, you can stroll down Fifth Avenue and gawk at the how-in-the-world-do-they-do-this-every-year windows at Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Saks Fifth Avenue, for example, or witness the grandeur of the windows at Macy's on Herald Square. Heck, you could even see Santa. Then there's Neiman Marcus (based in Dallas), that around the holiday season unveils their annual Fantasy Gift Guide—last year's options included a $35,000 dragon topiary and a $1.44 million Gem Triton submarine that comes with a sassy gemstone keychain. (Sidebar: Come to think of it, we couldn't find the 2008 edition of the Neiman Marcus fantasy gift guide. Can it be that this bastion of over-the-top splurging has, too, been a victim of the recent economic downturn? Sacrilege! Carry on tradition!) This year, FabSugar tipped us off to Nordstrom's first-ever Ultimate Gift Collection, packed with ridiculously spectacular gifts that we have no hope of ever affording. Choose from a $15,000 custom-designed couch by Tory Burch, original artwork by Ruben Toledo, and even an entire armoire stocked with Juicy Couture goodies. As Pete Nordstrom, president of merchandising, told the FabSugar gals: "Value and special items are two primary factors driving retail purchases today. The other thing driving purchasing is when customers find items that are special and unique—items they won’t find anywhere else." Probably true, but still, we'd probably have a lot of explaining to do if that Tory Burch couch showed up in our living room.

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