Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many holiday gatherings, Nordstrom has created a suite of holiday activities to better suit the year, the retailer announced on Thursday. As part of those efforts, the retailer is re-imagining how customers interact with Santa.
Consumers in the U.S. and Canada can schedule a 15-minute video call with Santa for $20, with the proceeds benefiting Operation Warm and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Canada, according to a company press release. Shoppers can also email letters to Santa or write letters to be delivered in-store or via curbside pickup at Nordstrom stores, with replies promised.
The department store is also holding holiday breakfasts at select stores throughout December, at a cost of $25 per adult and $15 per kid, with festive decor, music and children's activities. Online at Nordstrom's Festive Experiences website, customers can print out activity sheets, send letters to Santa or use a virtual photo booth to create holiday portraits.
Despite the pandemic's impact on retail, Nordstrom has released events aimed at celebrating the season virtually or, for the in-person holiday breakfasts, with COVID-19 safety precautions.
The announcement is in addition to other initiatives the retailer has rolled out to bring in holiday cheer from afar. In October, the retailer released a holiday gift guide highlighting gift wrapping and styling services for customers, including some virtual offerings. The company also teamed up with Balsam Hill that month to roll out in-store Christmas tree lots for holiday customers at 21 locations.
Others in the space have also made moves to recreate the holiday spirit, for example through Amazon's recent holiday ad and gift guides. Now that shopping in stores, a staple of the holiday season, is a concern due to the coronavirus, retailers are finding ways to recreate the cheer virtually.
As Nordstrom tries to woo customers with alternative festivities, the retailer has also revamped its operations ahead of the holidays. Last month, the retailer announced plans to hire 22,000 employees for its fulfillment and distribution centers, as well as at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. The retailer also expanded pickup options, so that customers can place online orders at Nordstrom.com, NordstromRack.com and HauteLook.com and pick up at Nordstrom Rack. As is true for other retailers, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the retailer to adapt to the uncertain environment.