the SoNo collection: safely experience the magic of the holidays

Last weekend, while my mama was in town, we had the opportunity to visit The SoNo Collection, a gorgeous shopping mall right in the center of South Norwalk, about 40 minutes from Westchester County. It features southern Connecticut’s only Nordstrom and Connecticut’s only Bloomingdale’s, as well as many other stores from Zara, Sephora, and H&M to Arhaus, Altar’d State, and more!

The mall has truly impressive holiday offerings this holiday season: Socially distanced photos with Santa (all complimentary!), Spot Holder technology (allowing guests to keep their place in line), an amazing curbside service program, a wide array of stores with killer deals… Should I go on? 

This was our first time visiting, and we had the best experience – we loved all of the interactive Christmas decor (Bells Grove was our favorite – so creative and mesmerizing!), we raved about the delicious poke bowls we had for lunch, and of course snapped some adorable pics at Santa’s Workshop (where the boys were greeted by none other than Elsa from Frozen!) The boys were gifted two story books explaining why Santa had to be behind glass this year. The whole concept was done beautifully for little ones to still get a magical Santa experience this year. 

Speaking of 2020… This year has been so tough for the kids. We haven’t been able to really witness much holiday magic – masks, social distancing, and canceled in person events have definitely put a damper on the holiday season for us all. 

If you’re looking to (safely!) take in the magic of Christmas, The Sono Collection is the perfect local option – it was very obvious that their utmost priority is safety – there are hand sanitizers, as well as social distancing reminders, every few feet! They also added extra space in common in dining areas and within the actual stores. The entire mall is intelligently set up for socially distant shopping, and we were able to pop in and out of stores comfortably the entire morning. It didn’t get crowded at all… even on a Sunday morning!

I was very excited to share these photos and snippets of our day with you all because we were truly so impressed – even Joe, who isn’t a shopping fan, only had great things to say about the experience. The boys still rave about their experience at CAMP (which I am dying to take them to again! What an amazing space for the kiddos!), my mom found so many gifts at Nordstrom (on major sale!) to bring home, and I snatched the slinky, burgundy bodysuit I’ve had my eye on for a while at Zara. I’d say it was a successful morning, wouldn’t you?

Honestly, I’d go back to The SoNo Collection simply to admire at all the festive store windows. I was amazed at how dreamy they all were! Nordstrom, Altar’d State, and Arhaus, in my opinion, take the cake – so magical!

Let me know your favorite stores in the comments below!

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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