Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Unique Christmas Gifts for the Rich!

Yes, I know it's only the middle of summer. But while our rich employers are frolicking on the beach at their summer retreats, I assure you that all over the globe personal assistants, personal secretaries, personal shoppers, and house manager/butlers like me are already busy making plans for Christmas.

As absurd as that may sound, it's absolutely urgent to pin down holiday parties so that you can get the event planner, the caterer, florist, musicians, tent-rental company, valet parkers and security all on the same page for the same date.

It also takes time to design and print holiday greeting cards, save-the-date notices, party invitations, and thank-you notes - especially if you're engaging a noted designer of some repute. Then, for your closest friends and loved ones, if you're Christmas gift this year includes a luxury car with a custom designed interior, that takes the motor companies time, right? Likewise custom designed jewelry; it takes time to research and pick out the best stones, and then to decide upon the right setting.

Moreover, there's the endless gifts to the vast array of friends and associates to figure out, which in the world of the rich and super rich can be extremely complicated and tricky. So yes, Christmas plans start early in this crazy nutty world. Over the past few years I've written several posts describing ideas and distinctive gifts that might aid in the struggle.

In a post called Luxury Gifts for the Rich and Super Rich I recommended perusing the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog, or wandering through the London Silver Vaults for unique gifts, which still holds true today. In The Orient Express I mentioned gifts of travel being the up and coming thing, which always creates a stir. And in What To Buy For Someone Who Has Everything I brought up the basic stable of fine wines, brandy, and cognacs as being welcome gifts on any occasion.

If you have a moment, this year I'll add a few more ideas:

How about hiring a renowned photographer to take pictures of your elaborate grounds and gardens and turn them into meditative works of art for the interior walls of your home? Here's a link to Curtis H. Jones Pure Nature Fine Art Photography and his various soothing styles. You can contact him personally at curtishjonesphotography@gmail.com and ask him about the luxury Magical Backyard Art Photography service. (This could be quite a unique gift, especially if done in secret while your friends, the homeowners, are away for the day.)

On another note, Cartier's famous Tank Watches are for the ages and appropriate for both men and women nowadays. In the world of luxury horology they're surprisingly not that expensive, many in the $3,000 to $10,000 range. It might be advisable to have a few of these on hand in your gift closet for those last-minute surprises, or perhaps a forgotten birthday.

For more frivolous gifts, there's always Hammacher Schlemmer. This depends, of course, on how well you know your rich friends and their interests, and when the need to impress each other with expensive gifts is no longer necessary. For over 170 years this company has been offering the most unique and crazy gadgets under the sun, and it's a lot of fun just to browse through their catalog.

Finally (also on an arguably-frivolous note) how about giving your friends the gift of a White Christmas, no matter what part of the country or climate they live in, by covering their home and gardens with snow? Prices vary from city to city and depends on how much coverage and depth of snow you want, of course. But imagine the delight in children's eyes in Miami or Phoenix, Arizona when they wake up to snow on Christmas day. Priceless! Just Google "snow machine" in your city to find an estimate.

I hope this has been somewhat helpful in making your gift plans this year? It's never easy buying things for the rich.

As always, thanks for stopping by this evening.

And Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Gold Diggers and the Rich!

Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated...but stupid is forever!
                                                                                                                  - Aristophanes

Although comic playwright Aristophanes wrote this way back in ancient Greece around 385 BC, it's as if he'd come face-to-face with my employer's new girlfriend. I kid you not, this woman is driving me nuts with her unrelenting antics and idiocy. (I said new, but she's actually beginning her second year around here.)

Don't misunderstand me. She's actually quite charming in her own déclassé sort of way. And her appearance is unquestionably pleasant for a sixty-year old woman - tall, slim, with long blond hair - regardless the gauche and unskillful makeup. But with my employer's money, her wardrobe has decidedly improved from off-the-rack at Nordstrom's to off-the-rack at Neiman Marcus - although it's still far from haute couture, if she even knows what that is. We've also noticed some recent and glittering diamond baubles mixed in with her regular and somewhat gaudy costume jewelry. All of which is none of my business, of course.

Since the divorce a few years back there's been a steady stream of gold-digging women in and out of my employer's life. But this one actually told me in confidence that she's not looking to get married, but just enjoying the friendship. (Which, I might add, includes the above-mentioned luxury gifts, travel on my employer's jet, and expensive five-star hotels and restaurants. What's not to enjoy, right?) 

But there's something missing about this woman. I would call her an airhead, a dumb-blond, or a bimbo - but that was sound rude and sexist, wouldn't it? Not to digress into clichés, but it's like her elevator really doesn't go to the top floor. When my employer invited her on her first trip to Europe, she asked Ester the Upstairs Maid to help pack the things she had laid out, among them being a whole roll of United States First-Class Stamps.

Ester: Are you taking these, Ma'am?
The Girlfriend: Yes, I want to send post cards to all my friends.
Ester: Excuse me, Ma'am, but you might need to buy the stamps in whatever country you're in.
The Girlfriend (after a pause):  Oh, silly me, I hadn't even thought about that. Do you need any stamps?

Then, back in January of this year when there was that awesome total lunar eclipse, just to make conversation I asked The Girlfriend the next time I saw her:

Me: Did you happen to see the eclipse last week?
Her: No, I missed it - I was out of town.
Me: Where did you go, China? (Although I didn't actually say that out loud.)

As innocuous as this all may seem, I don't understand how my employer puts up with her. It's difficult if not embarrassing to watch her try to host a cocktail party, where her conversation rarely goes beyond the weather or something silly she's watching on Netflix. But perhaps that's the whole key to their relationship; her naivety, lack of sophistication, and non-taxing tug on the intellect. Who knows?

I just try to mind my own business (well, to an extent), keep out of their way, and remind myself that there's a paycheck involved here every couple of weeks. Besides, July is coming up and it's time to begin Christmas plans - gifts, designer cards, decorations, caterers - so I'll be too busy to focus on Her Ladyship Duchess of Dumb.

I do hope you're having a splendid restful summer this year, between the spring and fall social seasons.

And as always, thanks for stopping by this evening,