As a teenager, I remember eating breakfast at a friend's home after spending the night. We were all gathered, about to take some little sister types get their photo taken with Santa Claus. My friend's grandmother used to be a shop girl at Neiman Marcus, and told us stories of her days at the luxury retailer, describing receiving your first line of Neiman Marcus credit as,"a distinctly Dallas rite of passage for any young woman."
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Walking into the flagship Neiman Marcus downtown is a beautiful escape almost any time you visit. Walking through those heavy glass doors feels so of-the-minute Dallas, and simultaneously like you have traveled to the past. But there is no time more whimsical than the holiday season to browse their beautifully decorated interior, or spend an afternoon with those infamous window displays.
This past Saturday, City Lights officially kicked of our holiday season, unveiling those interactive windows and lighting trees from City Park all the way up Main Street. Neiman's has always been special at Christmas, but these interactive windows have established a new tradition. Entering on the Main Street entrance, kids can climb through the chutes and ladders of a holiday display of cars, treasured jewels and candy. Parents watch as their children become the art, before literally sliding out of the front window.
Before heading down to see it all Saturday, I asked Ignaz Gorischek, VP of Store Development, to discuss this world he has created. "I have seen and been a part of some beautiful windows, but you can only get as close as that thin sheet of glass," he says. "I call that frustration. Even if you are right next to it, that is as close as you can get to that world. With these windows, you can get right in. And this is more than a singular experience, this is lingering. Think about the memories."
Even days later, I can hear those children giggling as they slide out. Folks will begin to chide the commercialization of the holiday season soon, but even in Dallas, a place as commercial as it gets, in a place as presumably precious as our sacred Neiman Marcus, we are reminded that, for now, the kids are in charge. And they don't want to shop, they want to climb. That Dallas' most esteemed retailer provided the metaphor isn't lost on me. That credit line may no longer be the rite of passage, not when you can linger a little longer.