A Look at The Holiday Window Displays of NYC’s Department Stores

Posted by Staff on Friday, December 9th, 2011

The winter holidays always bring out the best in us. They fill our hearts with joy, kindness, and compassion, just as they fill our bellies with eggnog and cider. But even in this season of goodwill towards all mankind, we still allow room for a little competition. You know what we mean: who has the biggest Christmas tree? Or, whose Christmas light display uses the most wattage? Perhaps this spirit of one-upmanship is nowhere more present than in Manhattan. It is during this time of the year that the Big Apple’s most famous department stores unveil their holiday window displays amid much fanfare and celebration. The display’s themes range from classic Christmas tales, such as Macy’s traditional Miracle on 34th Street windows, to some much more loose interpretations of the holiday spirit, as you shall soon see. Below we have gathered together the window displays from NYC’s biggest players, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide which one best represents the true meaning of Christmas.


Macy's Christmas Window Display 2011, Make-A-Wish

At Macy’s, the window displays are always a two-part affair. The windows along 34th Street invariable display scenes from the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which was set in this flagship store. Just around the corner, the windows running along Herald Square are themed “Make-A-Wish” in support of Macy’s Make-A-Wish Foundation. Within these windows, there is a winter wonderland of dancing ornaments, turning gears, and video screens featuring a 3Dfusion (3D without glasses) holiday adventure.

Lord & Taylor

Lord and Taylor Christmas Windows: What is Christmas Made of Of?

The theme over at Lord &Taylor is “What is Christmas Made of?” Instead of answering this question themselves, they looked to children from Women in Need shelters and local schools for the answer. The kids submitted drawings of what they believe most represents the essence of Christmas and Lord &Taylor’s window designers adapted these into colorful moving scenes.


Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman Christmas Window Display: Carnival of Animals

Bergdorf Goodman is well-known for producing some of the most original and captivating window displays when Christmas time rolls around. Thanks to the creative mind of Bergdorf Goodman’s director of visual presentation, David Hoey, this year is no different. Running with the theme “Carnival of Animals,” Hoey and his team have jammed every window with animals in the eclectic styling of a Cabinet of Curiosity. Rather than mess around with tried-and-true Christmas imagery, they’ve created a world of lively animals and fantastic landscapes to capture the imagination of holiday shoppers.

Barneys New York

Barneys New York Christmas Window Display: Gaga's Workshop

Like Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys has chosen the road less traveled in the world of Christmas window displays. The title says it all: “Gaga’s Workshop.” And yes, that is “Gaga” as in Lady Gaga. She’s hijacked Santa’s workshop and, with some help from artists Eli Subrack and Christophe Hamaide Pierson, redecorated it with her notoriously freaky and futuristic style. Not only are the windows aglow with the bold colors of her designs, but the entire fifth floor has been taken over to showcase her holiday bags and packaging.

Saks Fifth Avenue

At Saks Fifth Avenue we return to a more traditional, but always classy, take on the Christmas window display. This year they continue the story of the “Land of the Bubblemakers” that they introduced last year, but have updated it with a light show: The Snowflake & Bubble Spectacular. The lightshow reaches far beyond the windows and spreads out across the building’s façade. Every fifteen minutes, projectors cover the building with falling snowflakes and floating bubbles, transforming Saks Fifth Avenue into a living celebration of the holiday spirit.

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