The stretch of Ayala Avenue in front of Rustan’s Makati was awash in confetti and twinkling lights last Thursday when the high-end department store unveiled its holiday windows.
Each window is decorated in fine holiday style with woodland creatures surrounded by lollipops and sugarplums. In one vignette, a baby bear stands in front of an étagère with a fire-engine red truck, a mini carousel and jars of multicolored gummy bears.
In another, all shades of pink reign supreme. It’s like a game of “I Spy” that parents or guardians can play with their children or ward. I spy with my little eye: butterfly wings, a giraffe wearing a sparkly saddle, cotton candy, a unicorn, a frosted pink tree.
The unveiling of Rustan’s holiday windows is one of the most anticipated events in the city as it kicks off the Christmas season.
“We always strive to top last year’s display,” Dina Tantoco, Rustan’s head of marketing and communications told Lifestyle at the launch.
“Every year it has to be different but at the core, it’s always the same. It’s about trying to capture that feeling of joy that comes with celebrating the traditions of Christmas.”
This year’s theme is “The Sweetest Christmas at Rustan’s,” hence the use of sweet treats in the displays.
For Rustan’s president Donnie Tantoco, however, sweetness is a multisensory perception or sensation. “More than just finding sweetness in taste and flavor, sweetness can be perceived in what we see, hear, smell and feel as well,” Donnie said.
“For this year’s theme, we want our customers to feel Christmas in the captivating displays, the merry melodies and ambience, and the joyful air of Christmas wafting throughout the store,” he added. “The idea is to use a multisensory approach to deliver the spirit of Christmas in the shopping experience, underscored by the theme of sweetness in the little pleasures of life: a sweet perfume, a sweet outfit, a sweet toy or a sweet table spread.”
The Tantoco clan prides itself on pulling out all the stops during the holidays.
“Christmas is a special occasion in our family, my mother made sure of it,” said Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco, SSI Group and Rustan’s chair and CEO.
Her 98-year-old father and Donnie’s grandfather, Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., expects the entire clan to be present at his house on Christmas Eve. The second- and third-generation Tantocos arrive in time for the early evening Mass followed by dinner and the exchanging of gifts.
“We’ve started a new tradition of playing tombola, a numbers game similar to bingo,” Nedy said. Her son, SSI Group president Anton Huang reads out the numbers and hands out prizes to the winners.
“That’s part of it but when we talk about sweetness, it also includes the relationships between family and friends,” Nedy said. “It can be your own family, your extended family. When you think about it, it’s really about celebrating the season with the people you hold dear.”
Apart from the window displays, Rustan’s has lined up special activities and exclusive discounts for shoppers to experience the thrill and the magic of the season.
Until Nov. 30, a minimum spend of P15,000 on a single-receipt transaction entitles shoppers to a special assorted dozen of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
At the Christmas registry, kids (and kids at heart) can write down their wish lists that will be sent to Santa and to their chosen friends and family, or even shared on social media. Santa Claus will visit all Rustan’s stores every weekend until Dec. 22.
Rustan’s will hold arts and crafts weekends for children in all of its stores every Saturday from Nov. 15 to Dec. 14 and 15.