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Nedy Tantoco: ‘The Sweetest Christmas is getting together with the whole family’ |

Sunday Lifestyle

Nedy Tantoco: ‘The Sweetest Christmas is getting together with the whole family’

CULTURE VULTURE - Therese Jamora-Garceau - The Philippine Star
Nedy Tantoco: âThe Sweetest Christmas is getting together with the whole familyâ
The Tantoco family: (from left) Specialty Food Retailers, Inc. business development head MJ Tantoco, Royal Duty Free COO Chris Tantoco, Rustan’s administration manager Paolo Tantoco, Rustan’s member of the board Maritess Tantoco-Enriquez, Rustan’s chairman and CEO Nedy Tantoco, SSI Group, Inc. president Anton Huang, Rustan’s president Donnie Tantoco, Rustan Marketing Specialists, Inc. general manager Catherine Huang, and Rustan’s head of marketing and communications Dina Tantoco

Rustan’s unveiled its Christmas windows on Oct. 24 with the theme “The Sweetest Christmas,” which raised the interesting question: What makes Christmas sweet for you?

Rustan’s chairman and CEO Nedy Tantoco says that what makes Christmas sweetest for her is getting together with the whole family. “We’re very close-knit and for my father, it’s a very important requirement to stay at a member of the Tantoco family’s,” she says. “We should all be with him on Christmas Eve — even our children studying abroad come home for that.”

“The sweetest Christmas is about the sentiments of the season,” says Dina Arroyo-Tantoco, Rustan’s marketing and communications manager. “So it’s about having sweet memories, being sweet to each other, sweet gifting, festive feels — it’s more warm. And that’s what we we’re trying to do here.”

Dina adds that her Christmases got sweeter when she married Rustan’s administration manager Paolo Tantoco, “because they have a Noche Buena every year, and it’s something that everybody looks forward to. Another thing is, my mother-in-law (Nena Tantoco) decorates all of our homes for Christmas. So those are my sweet memories.”

Benny with daughters Nedy and Tokie: “It’s very important that we all be with my father on Christmas Eve,” Nedy says.

Rustan’s ultra-creative visual merchandising department — which turns all the department stores and Christmas windows into breathtaking Yuletide wonderlands every year — decorates Nedy’s house every year.

“They choose the theme,” she says. “They know my taste, so they’re able to know what I like. I just moved into my new house, so I’m thinking that maybe because it’s new, I want to do something new. Instead of using my collection of Christmas décor over the years, they’ll choose something newly introduced at Rustan’s, on the theme of the sweetest Christmas.”

Rustan’s president Donnie Tantoco reveals that this year he’s transforming his house into a mystical forest of turtledoves: “So it’s like a forest in winter with turtledoves, owls, and wooden twigs.”

Donnie Tantoco with wife Crickette, daughter Camille and designer Ricardo Preto

Sweet Shopping Treats

Along with a mouthwatering Christmas window featuring giant gummy bears, Rustan’s is making its sweet theme literal with its gift-with-purchase: From now until Nov. 30, spend a minimum of P15,000 on a single-receipt transaction and receive a special assorted dozen of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Take home a bottle of Henriot Brut Souverain to enjoy during your Christmas feast for a minimum P100,000 single-receipt purchase.

Rustan’s is also offering a Christmas Registry service, where kids (and kids at heart) can write down their wish lists, which will be sent to Santa and chosen friends and family, or even shared on social media.

Kids can also write a letter to jolly old St. Nick and send it off to the North Pole, with one lucky kid from each Rustan’s store having their Christmas wish come true.

Santa Claus himself will be visiting all Rustan’s stores every weekend, starting Oct. 26 to Dec. 22.

And because Christmas is ultimately a holiday for children, all Rustan’s stores are participating in an initiative that benefits Childhope Asia Philippines when customers buy special gift items from now till Dec. 15.

Kids can also have fun while you shop at Rustan’s arts and crafts weekends, which will be held in all stores every Saturday from Nov. 15 to Dec. 14 and 15. There, they can try creating their own popper toys out of simple materials with Santa’s Lab Snowball Surprise.

At Sparkly Snowflake, they can craft snowflakes out of popsicle sticks and glue, which they can hang on the Christmas tree at home, while the Mallow Snowflake session will have them designing — then eating — their own unique snowflakes made out of marshmallows.

They can also hear their favorite holiday tales with Rustan’s Christmas Storytelling.

Other Rustan’s services to help ease the Christmas rush? Personal shoppers, gift cards, gift certificates, and gift-wrapping.

Rustan’s kicks off its sweetest Christmas yet with the unveiling of its iconic windows.

The Sweetest Thing

I ask the Rustan’s CEO what her most vivid memory was from last Christmas and Nedy replies, “We had a very challenging Tombola — it’s like the Italian version of bingo. And Anton (Huang), being head of SSI, will give all the prizes — usually five from the top Italian brands — so of course everybody wants to win!” she laughs. “And I was happy because my daughter Catherine won one of the main prizes. I think it was a Ferragamo bag.”

Donnie says, “The sweetest thing you can give somebody is your time and your presence and your full attention.”

Dina agrees: “Yes! That’s why our get-togethers are always what I remember most.”

“A long, leisurely meal… amazing conversation,” Donnie muses. “That’s what I want to have this Christmas.”

* * *

“Sweetest Christmas” offerings and activities will be held at Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza, Rustan’s Gateway Tower, Rustan’s Alabang, and Rustan’s Ayala Center Cebu. To beat the traffic and have your gifts delivered straight to your loved ones, shop online at For more information, visit or follow @rustansph on Facebook and Instagram.

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Follow the author @theresejamoragarceau on Instagram and Facebook.


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