It's been another weird week in retail. Harrods limits Santa visits to the top 1%, Nutella flexes its hospitality muscles and beverage makers re-imagine the drink of the season.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
How Harrods stole Christmas
The holiday season is rooted in tradition. For some, that means going Black Friday shopping with the family in the early hours of dawn. Or perhaps baking treats that fill the house with the sweetest smells. But for some, especially young children, the season isn't complete without a trip to a department store to tell the big man in red what they've been wishing for all year long.
Unfortunately, British department store Harrods is throwing cold water all over those traditions.
The department store this year partnered with Swarovski to bring customers "The Secret Forest Grotto." The Grotto debuted to the public on Friday and will stay open through Christmas Eve. However, the event is invite-only and invitations are hard to come by. In order to be eligible for Grotto access, consumers must have achieved level Green 2 status in Harrods' rewards program by Aug. 26. This means one must have spent, at minimum, 2,000 pounds ($2,581.96, at the time of publishing). Yes, two grand to see a bearded man in a costume.
In case you have a spare two grand https://t.co/htKjybytYg— Christmas in the UK (@uk_xmas) November 9, 2019
But to children, he's not just a man in a red suit. Whether he's Santa or Father Christmas or some other variation, he represents the true spirit of Christmas. He gives children something to believe in, something to look forward to and someone to trust.
But for Harrods, the sweetest Christmas carol of all is the jingle of cold, hard cash.
"We care hugely about making a visit to the Grotto as magical as possible. We aim to deliver each and every customer who visits the Grotto a truly tailored experience which includes the chance to discuss their personal Christmas wishes with Father Christmas," the company said in a statement on its site. "Unfortunately, this means we cannot accommodate walk-ins."
The Grotto experience costs 20 pounds per child, and guests without a child attending will be asked to pay 20 pounds total. The experience includes an "immersive journey through the Grotto and a private audience with Father Christmas." But kids better soak up every second of that experience because they are only allotted 10 minutes with the big guy. Including the roughly $2,500 customers had to spend to get access, that trip to the grotto amounts to a minimum of nearly $260 a minute. Merry Christmas to absolutely no one, from Harrods.
The department store will present each child with a gift, though it doesn't disclose what such gifts entail. "We have been sworn to secrecy by the Elves who are currently making the gifts for all the children, so we are unable to disclose what the gift will be," the company said.
For the sake of Harrods, let's hope those gifts are of equal value to a down payment on a car.
The suite escape
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But sometimes a bad night's rest can make finding time to eat a battle. Thankfully, Nutella is here to help provide fans the sweetest of dreams.
The brand, known for its creamy hazelnut and chocolate spread, is testing its hospitality skills and is opening a pop-up hotel in 2020 dubbed the Hotella Nutella. Fans interested in booking a stay at this sweet escape can enter for a chance to win round-trip airfare for them and one guest, accommodations for three days and two nights at the hotel, provided transportation between the hotel and airport, and "one-of-a-kind creative breakfast experiences" with notable chefs, including Food Network's Geoffrey Zakarian, and Tanya Holland.
To enter, fans need to submit a 60-second or less clip of themselves explaining why they love the spread so much. Nutella will then select up to three winners (and their guests) to come stay at their Willy Wonka-esque hotel in Napa Valley, California.
This takes breakfast in bed to a whole new level.
Bubbles get a fresh makeover
Champagne has become synonymous with celebration, so it's no wonder so many people drink it during the holiday season. But if the drink isn't your jam, fear not. Several beverage makers have crafted sweet alternatives that ensure the celebrations can continue.
MillerCoors is bringing back its champagne-like bottles of Miller High Life nationwide, which is fitting considering it's the drink the brand dubs "The Champagne of Beers."
The 750-milliliter bottles made their regional debut in Chicago in 2016 and last year rolled out nationwide. And in an effort to boost marketing of the product, MillerCoors will be traveling around New York City during the second week of December with a custom-made vending machine to hand out bottles free of charge, Food & Wine reports.
But the bubbles don't stop there. At BravoCon, Pepsi unveiled a fresh take on the celebratory classic. The soda brand released a non-alcoholic sparkling rose to ensure everyone can get in on the fun this season. The company said it was inspired by "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Lisa Vanderpump.
"It's no secret that I love Rosé, so when Pepsi told me they were creating a non-alcoholic Pepsi Rosé just for me and my fans at BravoCon I was touched," Vanderpump said in a statement. "I think it's extraordinary that Pepsi created something especially for BravoCon, and the crisp and bubbly flavor of their non-alcoholic Rosé is delicious."
Cheers to a season full of joy and plenty of bubbles.
The trend your dog won't be wagging over
When Pentatonix stars donned larger-than-life puffer coats from Moncler at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, we thought we had seen winter's worst. But history appears to have repeated itself.
Although nobody asked for (or needed) this, the Italian designer released a special collection through a collaboration with Poldo Dog Couture, as part of its Genius World Tour. The collection includes everything from leashes to overstuffed puffer vests for your pooch.
While the 395 euro ($436.53) price tag may seem a bit steep, the look on your dog's face when you force it into this garment like a little sausage will be simply priceless.
This, right here, is the look of pure admiration and love:
Here's to you and your pup being the puffiest of pals.