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... Walking in a winter Wonderland

"A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight ... Walking in a winter wonderland"

What’s Christmas without festive lightings? I cannot imagine walking down the streets during “the most wonderful time of the year” without both the bright lights and the elaborate window decorations of the boutiques! The tradition of holiday display makes Christmas and whoever asserts the opposite is certainly afraid to appear as a material person and definitely not telling the truth!

In every corner of the world, this winter holiday season is announced by the appearance of festive decor in shop windows. From cloth stores to groceries, every shop makes use of Christmas ornaments to decorate their storefronts in the hope of catching customer’s attention to improve their sales during one of the busiest shopping months of the year. From the sparkle of luminescent Christmas tree baubles and blinking lights to the warm vanilla scent of traditional sweets coming out of pastries, no online boutique can ever take the place of physical shops or indeed deliver the spiritual magic of this wonderful holiday season!

I know for sure that many people out there, like me, cannot wait to visit a department store to view the festive window displays. It’s a treasured holiday tradition! For Christmas shop windows decoration is an art mastered by incredibly creative artists.

Holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue has been unveiled during Thanksgiving complete with a live performance, light show and fireworks. Saks Fifth Avenue and Disney present Once Upon A Holiday, in honor of the 80th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. New York, 2017

It goes without question that no one can do Christmas quite like New York City. The picturesque windows of Fifth Avenue department stores and the different themes they showcase will get you mesmerised at first sight! The unveiling of departments stores' holiday displays is a Newyorker traditional event that every year attracts thousand of people from everywhere. The unveiling is completed with shows, live performances and fireworks.

This year's window theme at Macy's is The Perfect Gift Brings People Together. The store unveiled its windows on November 16th night with much fanfare, including a fireworks display. New York, 2017

Lord & Taylor unveiled its 80th annual world-famous holiday windows on November 9 with a magnificent event with live performances that anticipated window reveal. They introduced this year's spectacular window theme of The Best And The Brightest to a bustling crowd. New York, 2017

The annual Christmas tradition of decorating shop windows dates back to 1800s when Industrial Revolution and mass production of consumer goods made this holiday season the best time of the year to increase sales by maximizing the goods production. The tradition of doing presents to the loved ones to show them care had just begun. Every kind of item was advertised as a Christmas present to put by the tree ...

At the beginning of the late 19th century, large city department stores started showcasing in their displays narrative stories with different themes and everything was presented using mechanical figures. Everyone owning a shop or a grocery store realized the importance of a well decorated shop window during Christmas time to create a sort of emotional liaison between the customer and the boutique, transcending the store’s commercial significance, and encouraging spending by shoppers. Windows decorators often made use of animated figures, sparkling glazing baubles and blinking lights to drum up holiday cheers and convey the spirit of the season to pedestrians.

There were other reasons that these holiday window displays became popular. One was because of improvements in the making of plate glass; by 1900, large sheets of plate glass could be produced and installed on the buildings’ facades.

"It's Christmas shopping Laddies", UK, 1907

The Christmas display at Macy's in New York attracting crowds of children in 1915

The Christmas display at Macy's in New York attracting crowds of children in 1915

These crowded people are waiting for the unveiling of a Christmas toy display, 1910s

Mothers with their children looking at a colorful display of toys and games, Macy’s holoday display, 1915

Dolls' Christmas display in 1910s

Eyeing a Christmas toy display in New York, circa 1910

Christmas shop window in Washington DC displaying gifts for boys, 1921

McHugh & Lawson holiday display, 1920s

Who said that Christmas window decoration must only be addressed to children? Here above is an example of a boutique displaying adult gifts. Hei man look at what's coming out from your fireplace! Santa brought you a special present ..., 1920s

Children window shopping, looking at toys in a Christmas display, early 1920s

Christmas window display at Woodward & Lothrop, circa 1928

Christmas window display of a toy shop in washington DC, 1930

A crowd of people at the window unveiling in Manhattan, 1939

Sweet Child Looking in Department Store Window, late 1940s

Window shoppers watching toy display in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, 1940 (Courtesy of Library of Congress)

A window display for Christmas sale. Providence, Rhode Island, 1940 (Courtesy of Library of Congress)

A crowd of people at the unveiling of Macy's holiday display in 1939

The photo's original 1947 caption: "With Christmas less than a month away, these early birds stand in front of a Yuletide display in a downtown department store. New Yorkers have been warned to do their shopping early and apparently they are heeding the warning."

Christmas Window by Gordon Coster, 1940

Winter sports christmas window decoration, 1940

Marshall Field’s window display, 1940s

Toy shop christmas window 1940s.

Frederick & Nelson holiday window decorations, Seattle, 1949

"It was the night before Christmas", 1948

Marshall Field Christmas window display, 1941

A traditional Santa's Village at Murphy Gamble's early 1950s Christmas windows

A sweet mama looking for her children's special gift, 1950s

Christmas Train Station scene at Murphy Gamble, 1950s

The magic of children's window display, 1950s

Today, the tradition of decorating shop windows for Christmas continues and windows display unveiling is an eagerly awaited event like a Broadway performance with live shows, celebrities and fireworks. Even if we are used to see the world through the glass of our smart phones, It goes without question that the sensorial and emotional experience of looking through the glass of a shop window is irreplaceable! We will continue to gather in front of department stores fascinated by their amazing decorations. Some things will never change.



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