High-end holiday: A guide for grand giving for those with deep pockets

FARGO - As people flock to various department stores today for Black Friday-discounted deals, another sect of holiday shoppers might have a gift list ranging toward the opposite end of the pricing spectrum.

FARGO - As people flock to various department stores today for Black Friday-discounted deals, another sect of holiday shoppers might have a gift list ranging toward the opposite end of the pricing spectrum.

Whether it's a new car, expensive jewelry or fine fur coats, there are people who buy gifts with big price tags.

Ryan Thielke, sales manager at McLaughlin's RV and Marine in Fargo, says people really do come in and buy big-ticket items like boats as Christmas presents.

He says one particular Christmas gift they sold was "probably in that mid-60s, low-70s range."

And just to make sure you're on board, that's mid-$60,000s, low $70,000s.


He remembers that one family came in and purchased a snowmobile trailer for a family Christmas gift - and matching snowmobiles to go along with it.

But snow transport treasures aren't the only option if you're looking to drop a lot of jingle during the holiday season. You can find plenty of options for very upper-end gifts online, in catalogs and even in the stores in our own neck of the snow-covered woods.

Jeff Richmond, general sales manager at Valley Imports in Fargo, says they've sold Audi and Mercedes-Benz automobiles as Christmas gifts.

"And usually it's a surprise," he says.

He's seen recipients jump, squeal and exchange high-fives.

"Sometimes the customers are at a loss for words," Richmond says.

There might even be some hugs.

"Once in a while, they'll hug the salesperson; they'll hug the businessperson who does the paperwork just because they're so excited and they're the type of person who shows it that way," Richmond says.


And there's not exactly a mold for who gives those gifts.

"It's all over the board. It's husband for a wife; it's wife for a husband; it's grandparents for a grandchild; it's parents for a child," Richmond says. "I've seen it all."

Troy Weist, sales manager at Luther Family Buick GMC in Fargo, says, while it isn't common, they have seen cars leave the showroom as Christmas gifts. One year a local business owner sprung for a new Pontiac Firebird for his wife, "and she had no idea it was coming."

"I think they picked it up on Christmas Eve morning," he says, adding that she was "very excited."

But not all upper-end gifts come in large packages. Todd Salmon, who works in sales at Royal Jewelers in downtown Fargo, says they carry Patek Philippe watches he describes as "the best of the best of the best of the best."

"It's the finest watch manufactured in the world," he says.

Salmon picked up one from under the jewelry case that was priced at $44,100. A Philippe watch can be had for significantly less than that, or, on the other end of the price spectrum, for much more.

And he says people do purchase them for the holidays. "I just sold one today, actually, for a Christmas gift," he says.


Salmon doesn't see a watch from the Swiss company as an item only for the well-to-do but something that's also an option for someone who's of more standard means and has always wanted one of the exclusive timepieces.

And Kelly Anderson, another sales associate at Royal Jewelers, believes luxury can be affordable. While Royal has very expensive jewelry, they also carry some that's priced under $100.

"But you're still getting a luxury product," she says.

If you're looking to wear something that's high-end, but softer than diamonds, the Fargo women's apparel/accessories store Laurie's will be happy to fit you with some fur.

They have a sheared mink and chinchilla coat priced at just under $12,000. A mink and sable coat at the store comes in at about $11,000.

While you can certainly drop a pretty penny on a fur, Laurie's owner Kristi Larkin says there's a fur option for everyone. She showed off a rex rabbit shrug that was under $200 and a fur scarf for $129, as well as items trimmed with fur.

"Furs make a fabulous gift," says Larkin, who calls fur a "necessity" in our region's frigid environment.

"You need swimming pools in Arizona," she says, and, in our part of the world, she says a lady needs fur.


And if none of that adequately scratches that high-dollar itch, there is the super-upper-end gift that keeps on giving. Harrod's department store in England announced plans to sell a $1 million advent calendar, which doles out daily doses of extravagance including a speedboat and sunglasses made of gold.

Luxury shopping from the living room

If you don't want to leave the comfort of your own couch, but you still want to snag an upper-end Christmas gift, it's an easy task these days thanks to catalogs and Internet sites.

Among those is Frontgate, an upscale home outfitter found at . Some of the items are cool, some are intriguing, and some are downright humorous. Here's a sampling from their November catalog:

- Cashmere pajamas - They're "Italian-tailored" and "twill-woven." - priced at $599. (The matching robe is another $599.)

- 75th Anniversary Monopoly Game: Frontgate Edition - features a mahogany case and "two built-in drawers for money, tokens and cards." - $129.50

- Marie Antoinette pet bed from the Chateau Pet Bed Collection - "Drawing inspiration from antique furniture, French designer Frederic Richard designed the Chateau Collection to surround your pet with regal splendor evocative of European aristocracy." - $699

- Fluted clothes hamper - Combines "natural beauty and practical functionality. Constructed of high-end wood with a rich mahogany finish." - $299


- Slim Balsam Pro Shape Tree - The 18-foot version of this Christmas tree is pre-fitted with 4,800 lights and goes for $5,999. The 15-foot version is $2,399; 12-foot version is $1,499.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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