It’s one of my favorite times of year – Christmas in New York City! If you’re looking for something to do in the city for the holidays, check out the department store window displays and decorations.
Start with the window displays at the Macy’s at Herald Square. Macy’s was the first department store to offer holiday window displays, with the tradition going back to the 1870s. This year’s theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of the classic holiday TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The windows are delightful and imaginative, and several are interactive as well!
What’s Christmas without Snoopy and the Red Baron?
On the other side of the building, there are windows telling the story of the movie A Miracle on 34th Street.
If you have children, you can always visit Santa in Santaland, located on the 8th Floor at Macy’s. This balloon, located over one of the entrances to Macy’s, reminds visitors that Santa is available (and also gives the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the iconic Empire State Building in the background!). The theme for Santaland is also the movie A Miracle on 34th Street.
Of course, Macy’s continues the holiday theme inside. The entrance area near the makeup and perfume counters is dazzling, with sparkling lights and a woodlands theme. If you look closely, you will find animated creatures in the tree limbs above!
There are also large ornaments with moving parts, reinforcing Macy’s holiday themes.
After you finish at Macy’s, head over to Fifth Avenue. As you walk up Fifth Avenue towards Bryant Park, you will discover Lord & Taylor’s window displays. This year’s theme is “A Few of Our Favorite Things.” As you approach the store, you will walk under scaffolding covered in ivy and twinkling lights, setting a festive tone to the window displays. There are several large windows, as well as a bunch of tiny windows.
Here is a photo of Lord & Taylor’s beautiful gingerbread house window:
There is also a magical cuckoo clock with moving parts:
And here is one of the fabulous small windows displaying beautiful jewelry:
Walk several more blocks up Fifth Avenue to Saks Fifth Avenue. The theme at Saks this year is “The Winter Palace.” Go across the street from the department store to watch the musical light show that runs every ten minutes. (I found the best views were from the corner diagonally across the street from the store, as the view wasn’t blocked by city buses going by.) This is something definitely better to do at night, as it isn’t possible to fully appreciate the light show if it’s still daylight.
After watching the light display, make your way across the street to view the holiday windows which stretch on three sides of the building. They are magical, with a fairy tale feel.
Several blocks further and you’ll stumble upon the beautiful, delicate windows of the jeweler Tiffany & Co. with its iconic Tiffany-blue color theme.
From there, it’s just a short distance to Bergdorf Goodman. The department store is celebrating the 120th anniversary of Swarovski crystal with a “Brilliant” theme. The windows are dazzling, with so many details it’s hard to take them all in.
Finally, head over to Bloomingdale’s, located between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue on E. 59th Street. The theme of Bloomingdale’s window displays this year is “Holiday Through the Senses.” Each window is framed in greenery, and you can actually smell that piney smell of Christmas!
These photos are just a sample of what you will see on a holiday windows tour in New York City. (Unfortunately, they also show one of the challenges of photographing the windows – the reflections of buildings, people, and cars passing by!) Henri Bendel and Barney’s also have holiday windows this year. Henri Bendel’s window is pretty simple, which is why it isn’t featured in this article. I didn’t make it to Barney’s, but I’ve heard that this year’s windows are beautiful (and cold – one window operates as a freezer, and ice sculptors make new pieces each day as bystanders watch).
Hope everyone enjoys Christmas in the city!