There are so many things in this world that don't warrant the price tag, but at this time of year we tend to live a lot on emotion, and, I don't know about you, but regardless of where my budget is, dreaming is always pretty high up there on my to-do list.
If I ignore the necessity of it all, finding ways to save money lets me stretch my imagination; it's another way to make life more interesting, and allows me to challenge the obvious solutions to the most mundane of chores. I think, if we have to do boring things, why not make them as enjoyable as possible.
But, I also love a contradiction, and the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is something that I look forward to every year. A tradition for over 80 years, it is filled with the type of unapologetic extravagance that many of us only dream about; it is known for indulgent, luxury items, and the opportunity to buy once in a lifetime experiences.
Some years are definitely more creative than others, and I do like the ones that have a more whimsical leaning to them. (Note to interested gift-giver's - I will always prefer an inexpensive castle to a rare diamond that has been mined by miniature, hand-raised elephants, and polished for three years by a cloth woven from an extinct silkworm).
Looking through the catalog is almost an indulgence in itself. It takes me a while to sink into the mind of the person who might shop from it, but in no time at all I actually find myself understanding the prices, and starting to think that $344,000. for a new Aston Martin, is actually very reasonable. My greed quickly takes over, and I begin to wonder why I am only allowed to have it in Seychelles Blue instead of Apple Tree Green, and who will actually fix my $1,500,000. Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment Center (that pops up from the ground) if it gets stuck halfway, or I press the button too hard and it catapults into the sky. And, why on earth don't I get a free Falcon if I am paying $150,000. for my very own Bespoke Falconry Companion? (I read the description, and I think it is actually just a fancy picnic set for me to take when I go off falconry-ing with my friends).
Regardless of my budget (and my obvious confusion over falconry) I can happily dream through the pages for a good hour; I stop when I have almost lost myself in the rich life of bejeweled chickens and perfectly coiffed, poised models.
I think dreaming and splurging is good for all of us now and again. It stops us from getting stuck, and it is nice to know what else is out there. And, it reminds me that I really do like driving my Jeep, that the pop-up entertainment center will probably look quite silly, and that I think it is far nicer to watch an Eagle in the sky than to try and tie a string to its leg and escort it around the garden....
Have a wonderful Christmas, and we will see you in the New Year!
p.s. I am sure that all the diamonds are mined responsibly and kindly, with no harm to any animals or insects. And, I would never, ever say no to a castle (especially a sandcastle).
Photograph adapted from The Telegraph UK (secrets to a successful sandcastle = a splash of water).