No, I am not kidding. Picture a 43-foot-tall artificial tree draped with more than $11 million worth of jewelry and precious stones.
If you want to get a closer look, you’ll have to travel to the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. But not too close a look — the tree has four guards.
Can’t afford the trip? Here are some photos, courtesy of ArabianBusiness.com.
Compare that with the average Christmas tree, which costs $43. Or so says Outright.com, a web company that provides online accounting software for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The company put together a bunch of holiday factoids into the following “Commerce of Christmas” graphic:
The Black Friday numbers didn’t surprise me, but the number of Santa Claus letters sent to France sure did. I thought that the town of North Pole, Alaska, would be the world’s clearinghouse for letters to old St. Nick.
Just over 57% of shoppers planned to give gift cards. I’m among them because I think that sometimes gift cards make great presents.
It’s nice to know that 15% of kids thought Santa was real until they were past the age of 10. My great-nephew Malachi turned 10 in September and is still a believer. No doubt he’ll go back to school in January saying, “Santa brought me ‘Kirby’s Return to Dreamland’ and two ‘Heroes of Olympus’ books!” and some cynical fifth-grader will respond, “You know your mom bought those presents, right?” Sigh.
And does anybody but me think it’s odd that the world’s most expensive Christmas tree is set up in a Muslim country? Yeah, I know it’s a shopper’s paradise for folks from all over the region — including foreign Christians jonesing for a little holiday spirit. Still surprises me, though. It also makes me want to write a song called “Sandy Claus is Coming to Town.”
My hostess has put up her lovely tree, which bristles with work-of-art decorations. Whenever Linda travels she buys a Christmas ornament or two as a souvenir. Some of them aren’t ornaments per se, but are small items that can be turned into tree-hangers with the addition of a bit of wire or a loop of ribbon.
I don’t know what the cost of years’ worth of ornaments is, but I can tell you what the tree cost: $6 at a yard sale. It’s not 43 feet tall or dripping with gems, but it does the job. She doesn’t need to hire guards, either.