Yes, these are tough economic times, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going… to Neiman Marcus.

Yes, these are tough economic times, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going… to Neiman Marcus.

Hoping to cut through all of the doom and gloom in today’s economy, the luxury retailer has issued its annual Christmas Book, offering beaucoup gift ideas that’ll undoubtedly wipe the glum right off your face. “I think we all need a break,” says a perky Neiman executive, and what better break can you get than to buy something shiny and playful for someone on your gift list?

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You might choose the very-shiny limited edition, 2009 BMW, for example. It’s listed in Neiman’s catalogue at $160,000. If you got that for me, I guarantee you my spirits would be lifted. Or how about this? If you want to turn someone from gloomy to giddy, go with Neiman’s delightful stack of hit records! You get the top 100 records from each of the past 35 years – that’s 3,500 records for only $275,000.

Now here’s a selection no one would expect: a dozen Thoroughbred racehorses! They’ll be stabled and trained by a top Kentucky horse farm, and you get it all for $10 million. That might seem a little pricey, what with Wall Street wobbling, but, as the head of the stable put it, “What better time to have a little levity and fantasy?”

Now, I’m sure there are cynics and spoilsports who’ll complain that flaunting luxury in hard times is smug and insensitive. But hold your thoroughbreds right there, for Neiman has already thought of that. In recognition of financial realities, the company is also sending out a special catalogue this year featuring gifts under $300. While Neiman’s wealthy shoppers are not affected by the economic turmoil of the day, the retailer notes that it also draws some “aspirational shoppers” – those with pretensions of wealth who’re looking for just a touch of luxury.

It’s such thoughtfulness that makes Neiman’s what it is.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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