What a woman really wants for Christmas

Yesterday, Jeremy wrote about the song of the week, “Santa Baby.”  In the song, the Christmas list Eartha Kitt (and later singers) presents includes rings, a platinum mine, a yacht, a fur coat, a duplex and signed checks.

What does that stuff really cost?

The exercise of calculating the costs reminded me of one of Jeremy’s first posts  where he found a website that calculated the total cost of the items related to the 12 days of Christmas. (See Jeremy’s post on December 27, 2011–a million years ago!)

I started with the song lyric “with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s.”  Tiffany & Co. boasts sterling silver decorations from mini mittens ($35) and a mini crystal teddy bear ($30) to a hand-painted porcelain ball ($225).  Unless I conducted my search poorly, there’s nothing collectible for 2012–but I guess the simplicity and elegance is all I would need.  I like the sterling silver Paloma dove ($175).  Of all the material demands the singer makes, decorations bought at Tiffany’s (at least at Tiffany’s online) won’t thrill me.

How about a fur?  I think the exact line is “slip a sable under the tree, for me.”  I went to local furrier Mano Swartz in Baltimore.  Not a single mink had a price tag–just “request more information.”  Darn.  I know that female mink pelts are generally softer and, therefore, more valuable than male pelts.  General sources (responses to curious women like me, I guess) report that a coat might retail for anywhere from $7,000 to $27,000.

I could price a yacht.  I chose to look in Newport, R.I. for dealers because I figure that’s where our rich and famous go to play (at least they did 100 years ago).  A 60-foot 2012 yacht from Bluenose Yacht Sales costs. . .wait for it. . .I don’t know.  “Contact us about this boat” is the best I can do.  I’ve embedded a video in case you want to drool.

I wouldn’t even know how to go about pricing a duplex–suffice to say that it depends on the city, and I figure she might have had London or Paris in mind.  Roger would be happy with Santa Fe.  I think an “out-of-space convertible, light blue” in 1953 (the year of the song’s publication) in today’s dollars is around $250,000.  Actually, I searched “1953 light blue convertible” and the first price I got was $4.00 on eBay–that’s for the plastic replica.  I don’t think that’s what the lyricists had in mind.

She ends with a “ring–I don’t mean a phone.”  If we go to local jeweler, Smyth (where Maryland gets engaged), and look at their signature collection, the settings alone are around $3,000–forget the diamond.  In this case, the website advertises, “Please call or come in for pricing.”

This exercise in excess has taught me  if I have to ask, I can’t afford it.  Thankfully, I don’t want it, either.

Song of the Week #15- Santa Baby

This week our focus song places the spotlight on the lighter, sillier side of the holidays.  Santa Baby is a tongue-in-check tune about a Christmas list including furs, things from Tiffany’s, and a deed to a platinum mine.  The lavish requests are all addressed to Santa, since she’s been an angel all year.  The song was written in 1953 by Philip Springer and Joan Javits (her uncle was NY Senator Jacob Javits, namesake of the Javits Center).  Santa Baby is one of only two top ranked Christmas songs written by a woman (the other is song of the week #9- Little Drummer Boy).  The original recording was made by Eartha Kitt with Henri Rene and his orchestra.  It was a huge hit and Kitt said it was one of her favorites.  Hundreds of live and recorded covers have been over the years.  One of the most well-known was the 1987 version recorded by Madonna for the album A Very Special Christmas.  The collection of songs raised money for Special Olympics.  Check out some of the recorded versions of the hit:

Eartha Kitt– The original recorded version from 1953
Madonna– 1980s cover from the material girl
Taylor Swift– a country sound for the tune
Miss Piggy– Even the Queen of the Muppets gets in on the act
Michael Buble– His version (for guys) changes it up to Santa Buddy and updates the lyrics