The Christmas season tends to start earlier every year. About mid-October, my neighborhood supermarket began using paper bags with “Season’s Greetings” printed on them. What season, I wondered – football season? But that day’s mail brought a familiar harbinger of Christmas: the Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalogue. Only 60 shopping days left, I thought in a moment of panic.

Neiman-Marcus is still very much a part of the Christmas scene, a place not only to shop, but to take relatives visiting during the holidays. But are the wonders of Neiman’s what they once were? Does the withdrawal of Stanley Marcus from the floors of his store to a lofty perch in the Republic Bank Tower signal the birth of a brand new Neiman-Marcus? Senior editor John Merwin and contributing editor Robert Finklea interviewed scores of current and former Neiman’s executives and buyers, and members of the Marcus family, to document the changes taking place.

With shopping on my mind, and the glittering goodies of the Christmas catalogue dancing through my head, it was something of a relief to find that two members of our staff had already been doing some work for me (well, mainly for you). Our “Collecting” columnist, Tom Peeler, and our circulation director, Ann Richardson, have found a gift for every budget. Tom’s top-priced gift is only $15,000, but Ann has found 50 for under $5, including one that’s free.

After the Christmas bills come in, you may need a shopping guide of a different sort, the one free-lance writer Al Kay has provided in his comparative survey of Dallas banks. Here for the first time is everything you needed to know about how your bank measures up to others in the city.

My Christmas memories, I find, are often olfactory: the pungency of pine and cedar, the crisp smell of apples and oranges, and most of all the rich aroma of festive food. Just reading Gail Game’s collection of recipes for a Bicentennial Christmas had me humming “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” for days. Gail, an antiquarian by profession – she’s a graduate student of medieval literature at SMU – found the time she took to hunt down old Southern recipes rewarding. Your reward will come in the kitchen. God rest ye merry.

– Charles Matthews

Good people are hard to find, or so goes the conventional wisdom. We don’t go in much for conventional wisdom around here, which may be why we’ve been so successful in attracting talent to our cause. The latest recruit to our ranks is managing editor Gay Yellen, 29, a native of Houston who assumes her post this month. Gay comes to us from Los Angeles, where she has been editor of Tennis Illustrated. A graduate of Tulane University, she studied in Paris at the Sorbonne before entering the magazine business. “City magazines are the talk of the industry,” she says. “The attractions of a vital, growing publication in Dallas were irresistible. I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

We’re delighted to have you, Gay, and we’re also delighted about our growth. Assuming that we’ve tempted the Fates long enough with our inexperience in these matters, we’ve enlisted Paul Hug, 32, whose B.A. from SMU and M.B.A. from Stanford should serve him well as business manager of the magazine. Paul expects to be a father in a few short months, so we’re letting him practice a little parental guidance over our financial affairs.



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