Almost all of us know that, after the joy of Christmas day subsides, the depressing reality of January bills arrives.
But, imagine if you didn’t have to worry about any sort of Christmas budget. What if you knew, for that special someone on your list, that the sky was the limit when it came to the budget – and you really meant it? What would you do? Buy the biggest diamond? Set up a trip to go to outer space? Make a reservation in one of the world’s most famous restaurants – six time zones away?
We decided to play with the idea of money being no object. For this year’s holiday season, we bring you a gift guide with a difference. We know that, for most of us, the big-ticket items presented here are fantasies. But, heck, it’s fun to dream, isn’t it?
John Lennon “Imagine” Piano
Whoever receives this limited edition piece can brag he or she shares something in common with Yoko Ono. Lennon gave Ono a white Steinway grand piano for her birthday in 1971. Modeled after the exact piano Ono received, John Lennon’s signature, hand-drawn illustrations and lyrics are inscribed on it. This nine-foot piece of music history can be specially ordered through Steinway & Sons in time for Christmas – but good luck fitting it under the tree. (Steinway & Sons, $220,000, Steinway.com or see the model at The Piano Centre, 10460 170 St., 780-484-3170)
Jean Schlumberger is considered one of the most important jewellery designers of the last 100 years. He’s known best for his work at Tiffany & Co. where he designed pieces worn by Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. The Croisillon Bracelet is one of his most coveted designs, made through the painstaking process of layering enamel over 18-karat gold leaf. The piece can be ordered through the Tiffany & Co. at West Edmonton Mall. (Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger Collection, $34,700, Tiffany.ca)
Ligne Y Leather satchel
For the it-girl in your life, one could argue this bag is worth its price tag. The chic and classic shape promises it will be trendy for seasons to come. Order it through Nordstrom’s, though the retailer is rumoured to be moving into Edmonton soon. (Saint Laurent, $3,239, Nordstom.com)
Dinner at Sublimotion
$2,700 per person
Jump on a plane and treat your giftee to a three-hour dinner at Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain. The experience combines a 20-course Spanish avant-garde food presentation by two-starred Michelin chef Paco Roncero inside a high-tech space that adapts with each course from the room’s temperature, lighting and music to even the humidity. (Sublimotion, $2,700 per person, sublimotionibiza.com)
Or if you want to stay close to home, Brad Smoliak of Kitchen by Brad can serve a customized dinner for up to 18 people with four courses and wine pairings, for $145 each. (kitchenbybrad.ca)
Kiton K50 bespoke suit
$40,000 – $50,000
If the clothes make the man, then imagine what your man could be in a $40,000 to $50,000 Kiton K50 model bespoke suit, facilitated through Henry Singer. This top-of-the-line item is made from a limited supply of luxurious and rare 12.9 micron wool (taken from the belly of the sheep rather than the back) and is made form-fitted to the client. A Kiton master tailor is flown from Italy for the first fitting and returns again from eight to 12 weeks later with a bespoke suit ready for the finishing touches – such as hand-cut and sewn buttons, pant hems and sleeve finishes. The process takes a well-dressed fella and transforms him in to a jet-setting man of mystery – worthy of a 007 designation. (Henry Singer, US$40,000 TO $50,000, henrysinger.com)
Trip to Space
Most astronauts train for years before setting foot on a spacecraft. But the founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, has a different idea. He wants to make space accessible to nearly anyone without all the lengthy training that’s normally required.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking you’re actually buying your loved one the equivalent of a space cruise to the Bahamas. And there is no getting around the dangers of space travel – Virgin Galactic’s test run, like many others in history, failed.
There will be no lazy sipping of margaritas ocean side. Instead, he or she will be hurtled through the atmosphere at speeds rivalling the blender used to make the drinks the person won’t be enjoying.
Reserving a space on the Virgin Galactic craft does include some centrifuge training in Philadelphia, where participants will go on reduced gravity flights. But maybe there are some other stocking stuffers you could add, just to ensure your loved one spends the time in space enjoying the view rather than recovering from the worst case of motion sickness he or she’s ever experienced. (Virgin Galactic, US$250,000, virgingalactic.com)
A few ideas:
A Multi-Play Pass for West Edmonton Mall: A one-year individual pass at $269 means your loved one can go on the Space Shot at Galaxyland as many times as needed to get that gag reflex under control. It launches passengers 120 feet high in less than two seconds, and then drops them. It’s not the same as the g-forces involved with space flight, but it might be the closest thing to it in the city.
Space snacks: What would be a road trip without snacks? The Telus World of Science’s gift shop sells freeze dried ice cream sandwiches for the down-to-Earth price of $4.95 each.
Choc Creator 3D Chocolate Printer
Sure, most of us know the story of Willy Wonka. But, what if you could be just like Charlie and get the chance to inherit the chocolate factory? With the Choc Creator 3D Chocolate Printer you can make treats every day, without the need for a golden ticket. (Choc Edge, $7,000, chocedge.com)
Now that you’ve given your loved one the chance to be Willy Wonka – complete the gift with a special 50th anniversary edition of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, available at Audreys Books through special order. Featuring original illustrations from Joseph Schindelman, it’s sure to bring out the Oompa-Loompa in all of us. (10702 Jasper Ave., 780-423-3487)
I’ve got a chocolate printer
And it won’t stop!
This hybrid bicycle from M55 will get you farther, faster, while you hardly break a sweat. M55 is a Hungarian bike manufacturer, but it sources parts from across Europe. And the Terminus is the latest in M55’s line of extravagant e-bikes. A battery cell and motor give you the extra push to make this thing go like a stylish bat out of hell. Pull the throttle, and the motor provides extra torque. Heck, M55’s Beast model could do nearly 80 km/h. But, don’t worry, the RPM sensors monitor how fast you pedal, and won’t allow the bike to torque you out of your speed comfort zone. You won’t hit the throttle and go off like a shot. In Canada, you can only get the bike through a dealer in North Vancouver (M55, $38,000, m55-bike.com).
But you don’t have to leave Edmonton if you want a bike that relies on 100 per cent pedal power, but still makes other riders on the path envious. Revolution Cycle has the S-Works Venge Di2. With a super-light black carbon frame, this will make you feel like you’re on the Batcycle. With pedals. And you can have it for the Bruce Wayne-budget price of $10,999. (15103 Stony Plain Rd., 780-486-3634)
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old
Scotch Rare Collection
There’s nothing like the full-flavoured complexity of a well-aged Scotch, and there’s nothing like the bragging rights that come with this rare bottle. This Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Scotch is a rare breed as one of only 50 bottles to hit the market each year. The whisky – matured in two separate casks for 50 years and married together for six months in an American oak barrel – is the crown jewel of the Glenfiddich distillery. In your home, it will likely be the star in the sky that attracts all sorts of holiday visitors – from foreign dignitaries and wise men to your rarely seen cousin Jed. Of course, this smoke and oak flavoured treasure is an item you may not choose to share with just anyone (sorry, Jed). (Wine & Beyond in Windermere, $26,000, 6284 Currents Dr., 780-439-5130)
Chances are you won’t be sipping on the $26,000 bottle of Scotch every day of this holiday season so, as a daily treat, why not a choice of 24 different craft beers?
The 2014 Intercontinental Edition Craft Beer Advent Calendar is a worthy purchase for any beer lover, and is sure to do two things:
1) Provide your holiday season with some childhood advent calendar nostalgia.
2) Give you a daily beer treat imported from one of 18 different countries – some made special for this year’s calendar.
The only thing you’ll have to worry about is whether you still have the patience to limit yourself to one of the 24 treats per day. (deVine Wines and Spirits, $151.99, 10111 104 St., 780-421-9463)
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
When you give a man a high-end watch, you run the risk of making his male friends and co-workers extremely jealous. Although, usually the price of the watch isn’t equivalent to a down payment on a house, unlike the rare Rolex Sky-Dweller carried by GemOro. Designed specifically for those who travel the world, the Rolex Sky-Dweller keeps tracks of dual time zones. It allows a man to be on time no matter what continent he has to be in for his appointment. (GemOro, $49,500, 1093 West Edmonton Mall or 187 Commerce Place, Gemorogoldsmith.com)