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  IT’S CHRISTMASTIME and the retail world is ablaze with holiday windows to lure and thrill customers across the country. This year, themes run from tradition and nostalgia to high tech and international concepts.  One is better than the other, so let’s take a quick tour of some of the more extraordinary of the crop:


Remember the great Christmas phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” written in 1897 in a letter from the editor of the New York Sun newspaper to a little girl, Virginia, who wrote to the paper expressing her doubts about Santa’s existence? 

Well, that wonderful real-life Christmas tale is recreated by Macy’s in its Herald Square store windows, complete with theatrical and high tech techniques, synchronized lighting, sound, animated movements and even LCD screens.    

   –Anybody who has ever seen Macy’s Christmas windows (you pick the year…any one) knows they just don’t get better than this, and the 2010 offerings are as good as any.  It’s all wonder and magic and delight after delight for children and grownups alike! 


                                     Christmas, Japanese Style

JUMPING ACROSS THE GLOBE to Tokyo, we find the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi interpreting “The Nutcracker” in its exquisite, Asian-inspired holiday windows.  Japan is primarily Shinto, with a little Buddhism added, but the country has long had a love affair with Christianity’s season of light, celebrating Christmas with lights and retail windows of the most remarkable kind.

    The retail chain’s Nihonbashi district store features scenes from the classic Nutcracker tale, while the Ginza store blends traditional and modern techniques into a fabulous presentation with lights shaped like bubbles. 

    –Shadow puppets appear in the shape of rabbits, reindeer, wolves, doves, and other animals, while the Nutcracker’s main character, Clara, is seen in various vignettes, including dreaming about a prince, and sitting on top of a merry-go-round horse surrounded by the world’s most fantastical toys.




  • Angel children’s jewelry.


                                             Fields of Snow


NEW YORK’S BLOOMINGDALE’S has turned its windows into an electronic wonderland to express a “Happy, Merry, Peace, and Love” theme.  Close to 100 digital screens brilliantly arranged in a mosaic give visions of winter wonderland landscapes filled with falling snow.  

   –Here is the icy North, with its huge pine and fir trees all outfitted in white for the holidays and transforming the city’s fast-paced Lexington Avenue into a splendorous white Christmas mirage.  It’s techno-spectacular!


Not far from Bloomies, over on Fifth Avenue, is the elite Bergdorf Goodman, in love with travel of the galaxy-kind this year.  A trip to the moon window was inspired by a 1902 film by the famed Georges Melies, director of the first science fiction movie.

   –World travelers, vintage luggage, and elegantly dressed mannequins on top of Pegasus are just the beginning of the extravaganza.  There are cherubs, hot air balloons, model boats, antique diving masks and nautical stripes.

    –Set to a “Wish You Were Here” tempo, these windows are so brilliantly expressive of Christmas, with all its lavish embellishments and extravaganza, they just have to be seen!


                                         Ah, the French!


NOT TO BE OUTDONE by the rest of the world, Paris clocks in early, where The Good Life is the main theme of opulent window displays inspired by the grandeur of France’s chateaux.  Puppets designed by fashion designer Alber Elbaz wear miniature versions of his haute couture tuxedos and gowns…making these windows gloriously appropriate for the fashion capital of the world.

All over the globe, Christmas is in full swing. Store windows are showing off the creativity, whimsy and wonder of the retailing world.  Salvation Army carolers still stand on street corners, collecting for the needy, and reminding everyone of the blessedness of giving. Chestnuts continue to roast on city avenues.  And shoppers scurry here and there, looking, smiling, choosing, buying, and – even in the usually impersonal New York and Paris – wishing one and all a Merry Christmas.

Yes, Virginia, it’s that glorious time of year!



Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

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