It’s ending a lot to look like Christmas

Nordstom finally took down their Christmas window displays.

They’re not the last store at Ala Moana Shopping Center to do so.

If my house were a store, I’d leave mine up all year long, except I worry –

yes, I’m still young enough to be concerned about these things –

I worry that people would think I’m strange.

Hermès to date does not seem bothered about this as much as I.

Among other objet de noel, they have a polar bear in the window I covet.

What made the Nordstrom displays stand out above many of the rest

was that they’d chosen a unique white-on-white theme.

The trees were white, and the ornaments on the trees were white.

This may strike some as odd, but from a merchandising perspective, it makes perfect sense.

If you install gaudy, busy displays, whatever it is you’re selling gets lost, like Waldo.

Too many stores at Ala Moana (and everywhere) don’t seem to understand this.

Their windows are like Grand Central Terminal at rush hour, the purses and perfume

magically disappearing amid the tumult of artistically crazed displays.

Hermès, j’accuse: You’re not selling polar bears.

What you are selling in the polar bear window, Je ne sais pas.

The only thing I want to steal – I mean buy – from you is that polar bear.

To tell you the truth, I also have no recollection of what Nordstrom was selling in their windows.

But I had to stare at those white-on-white displays each time I passed.

The design was simple: pine trees with pine cone ornaments.

If I were going to use white pine cones, I would paint real pine cones.

These pinecones were handmade.

Someone had cut up and glued together all the little wooden pieces.

I pictured some man, woman, or worst, some child in some third-world Dickensian factory,

working under terrible conditions, gluing on one petal at a time, day after day.

If I were forced at gunpoint to manufacture these cones,

I’d at least choose open cones as the “easier” ones to pull off.

These were closed, tighter than real ones, like conjoined sardines in the can.

Even today, after walking past the windows, I have no recollection of the current displays.

All I could see was those pine cones, imagine going arthritic and blind

to make painstaking imitations of these natural-world objects.

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