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General NewsLet’s go window-shopping

December 1, 2015

Gorgeous Christmas window on the 5th Avenue in New York

Gorgeous Christmas window on the 5th Avenue in New York

Beautiful decorations in windows signal the start of the holiday season. Because they attract shoppers, large stores put a lot of time, effort, and money into decorating their windows.
Actually holiday decorations in windows started back in the 1800s. At that time storeowners started to buy plate glass to build large windows. They put their products in the windows for shoppers to see. Soon people were happily “window-shopping.”
Macy’s in New York started the tradition of decorating holiday windows. In 1862, children could visit a Santa sitting in one of the large windows. In 1874, a theme window showed porcelain dolls from around the world.
After Macy’s success, other stores joined in and stores competed for the most beautiful windows. In 1938, Lord & Taylor added mechanization. Gold and silver bells moved to the sound of recorded bells. It was a hit.
Many artists and crafts people work on the displays and planning starts a year in advance. “It’s no different than a small Broadway production,” said Manoel Renha, a window designer at Lord & Taylor.
Now the large, gorgeous windows are tourist attractions. Many people choose to go to big cities like New York, London, or Chicago just to see the holiday displays. Lord & Taylor estimates nearly 250,000 people pass by their windows daily in November and December.

Published December 2015

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