Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Post Holiday Blues!

Well, well, it's finally all behind us, isn't it? Thanksgiving, charity balls, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve. All the pretty lights are coming down and the utter madness of gift shopping, menu preparations and travel plans have all been accomplished.

We're left wondering if our gifts were well received or returned to the department store - perhaps shuffled up to the attic, or given away to the homeless. But who cares, really? At least we're relieved that our family obligations are over for the foreseeable months ahead, and that no one seemed to notice or mind that we couldn't remember their names in these infrequent gatherings.

This has been a strange Christmas season around here with our employer running off to Europe for almost all of December. There were no major parties or charity events to deal with, and only a handful of important (which is to say political) cocktail parties. The house decorations were limited as well, no fourteen-foot tree to decorate. And the exterior decorations were just enough to keep our hateful neighbors from gossiping.

This is the time of year when post holiday blues can easily set in for many of us. Nothing major coming up, just dark dreary days and deep winter setting in. There's still some important football games to look forward to, not to mention the Super Bowl coming up on February 5. But that's about it, and not all of us are football fans, are we?

This is also the time of year when many rich people run off to Switzerland to have their eyes done, as well as other significant nips and tucks here and there like butt and breast lifts with plenty of time to heal before the Spring Social Season starts to wind up.

My employer is among this vain crowd, so we're hoping he'll disappear for a few weeks. He had his eyes done last year and still looks like a deer caught in the headlights. So we'll see how much more work his seventy year old face can stand. I just hope he doesn't come out with a permanent smile like so many victims of repeated plastic surgery. It would certainly not suit his grouchy old personality.

In America we do have the spectacle of a curious new president being sworn into office in January, which could serve as comic relief during the winter doldrums. Half the country is elated about his election while the other half is flirting with moving to Canada. Will he be a good statesman, or just blow up the whole damned world? It's anybody's guess at this point, but it should be amusing to watch, in a disturbed sort of way.

The chatter heads on all the US news channels are certainly well occupied these days with this new president elect - to the point where we don't get any news at all! To find out what's going on in the Middle East, Europe, India, Africa, Asia, and South America, I'd recommend tuning into the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on your TV or on the net. Much more calm, no chattering heads, just straight news the way we need it and want it.

I hope you're not afflicted with post holiday blues too badly, to the extent that I am. The problem is it comes at the same time when a real clinical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can set in. It's a mood change during dark cold days during the fall and winter when sunshine is hard to come by, and can lead to both mild and serious depression. Anyone in mental health care can tell you that the nut houses mental institutions fill up during this time of year.

If you find yourself slipping in this dire direction it's advisable to seek professional help right away. I might also mention that lots of champagne and gin martinis make you forget what time of year it is altogether. :)

Thanks for dropping by tonight. I hope this post hasn't been too erratic?

Andrew


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Luxury Gifts for the Rich and Super Rich!

One of the most vexing problems that pops us every year around this time is what kind of holiday gift do we buy for our rich friends - those who already have everything, and need nothing? As head of household and personal assistant to my employer, this falls on my shoulders as well, every damned year. But if you have a couple of minutes I can share with you how we handle things around here.    

First off, you can always resort to the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog, filled with exquisite expensive gifts that appeal to many. This is especially useful for our new-rich friends who are still in the process of accumulating their accoutrements, and probably don't mind if they're receiving the same kind of gifts that thousands of other new rich might also be receiving.

But for the discerning super rich (who already have everything in the NM Catalog) things are a bit more tricky. For these folk you'll need to be looking for specialty items - unique, perhaps hand-crafted, and definitely one-of-a-kind.

To this end, you might take a leisurely stroll through the secretive London Silver Vaults, as recommended by our friend Grant Harrold the Royal Butler, to find just the right thing for your picky rich friends.

You might also turn to highly-specialized websites like Von Urbanovsky - a well-famed and impassioned designer redefining luxury, who believes in the power of ancient craftsmanship - who creates and manufactures exquisite gifts, jewelry and objet d'artes by pure inspiration. (And the CEO Joseph Reisz is directly available to discuss prices.)

On the other hand, and on a lighter/cheaper note, if you know your rich friend's interest in high-tech gadgets, there's always Hammacher Schlemmer. It's not about money here - just fun, play and amusement for the latest stuff that's out there.

Or even more frivolous, how about this? An exquisite box of FIVE potato chips for $56! That's like $11 per chip! Check out St. Eriks if you think I'm kidding! (How many boxes do you think it would it take to get through a football game?)

Personally I always recommend booze for our rich friends, as an easy way out. But this can be tricky as well. Don't give wine unless you're familiar with the recipient's preference in varietals. Otherwise it will wind up in in the kitchen, in Chef's hands, to be used for cooking. Brandy is a better choice. I always recommend a nice cognac from the Grand Champagne region in France - roughly $5.000 to $25,000 per bottle. No one, no matter how rich could resist a gift like this,

I hope this post has been helpful, if not completely absurd! But buying gifts for the rich always poses huge headaches. Seriously, fortunes can climb or fall over a simple faux pas in this area.

Here's hoping your holiday shopping is going along smoothly, without any of this nonsense!

Andrew