What would Stanley Marcus think about Zooming with Santa, virtual gifting rooms, or curbside Santas?
“I think he would be proud of the team,” Marjon Zahibi Henderson, Director of Brand Experience and Special Events at Neiman Marcus Group, told me when we video chatted recently. She adds that she believes the architect of Fortnight and the fantasy gift would be thrilled that Neiman Marcus has continued to prioritize luxury experiences in these unusual circumstances.
Based on the creativity of this year’s Neiman Marcus holiday experiences, I think Marjon, a 16-year veteran of the legendary brand and Highland Park wife and mother of two littles, is spot on.
Strolling Neiman Marcus during the holiday season has always been a magical experience. The over-the-top floor-to-ceiling displays of trees, life-size nutcrackers standing guard over brightly colored tins of candy, popcorn, cookies and cakes, and flocks of butterflies and birds hovering overhead invigorate, but not overwhelm, the senses. And though this year’s experiences might be a bit more low key, the magic is still there.
Thanks to Zoom, you and your kids can still tell Santa what you’d like to have waiting for you under the tree with virtual Santa visits. Make an appointment online here, but if you miss out on this, you can still see Curbside Santa who will deliver your packages to your sleigh every Saturday until Christmas, from noon to 6 p.m.
Want to have Santa deliver the goods but you’re not sure what to buy? Neiman’s made it easy to shop with virtual gifting rooms that are curated based on information you provide through a brief online questionnaire. Your Neiman Marcus gift advisor chooses items based on your preferences and creates a mini showroom for you to browse during your Zoom appointment. It’s virtual but still very personal shopping experience.
This year, my group of girlfriends won’t have our annual holiday gathering, but thanks to Neiman’s we can have a virtual party. According to Marjon, their virtual holiday parties are a big hit with businesses such as law firms and wealth management firms who usually host holiday parties, and friend groups like mine who opt out of in-person gatherings.
Event themes run the gamut from men’s and women’s fashion to accessories, handbags, jewelry, and beauty. I have a fear that when the pandemic is over, I will appear in public with a dreadfully outdated look, like a time traveler wearing frosted blue eye shadow, a bouffant hairdo and mustard-colored gaucho pants. I think I will schedule a party to focus on beauty trends so we can reappear in 2021 looking like it’s 2021 and not March of 2020 or, worse, September 2020!
If you’re up for in-person shopping but want to save time browsing, Neiman’s can arrange a for a private shopping lounge to be set up by your associate who will customize your selections and sizes. Personal service has always been the hallmark of Neiman Marcus and they are really going above and beyond this year to provide thoughtful shopping experiences for their clientele.
And those holiday luncheons at Neiman’s? They will be a bit different. The Zodiac Room at NorthPark is temporarily closed, but The Mermaid Bar is open during store hours Wednesday through Saturday so you can get your popovers with strawberry butter and Mandarin Orange Soufflé there. You can even order your entire holiday meal from there, too.
The Zodiac Room Downtown is open for dining and tea starting December 10, Thursdays through Saturdays. With limited availability, reservations are strongly suggested, and you can make them here.
The arrival of the holiday season marks the passage of time, I consider it a month-long celebration to close out the year. This year, of all years, we are entitled to feel the wonder and joy that comes with the holidays. I don’t suggest that shopping at Neiman Marcus will erase the challenges we have faced this year and it won’t alter reality. For me, though, and many of us whose holiday traditions include this legendary institution, Neiman Marcus holidays have always delivered a little magic. And aren’t we all longing for a little magic?