One of the most beloved holiday activities in NYC is seeing the festive department store window displays.
Macy’s holiday window displays are among the best -- and the oldest!
Macy’s was America’s first department store to decorate its windows for Christmas, back in 1874 when the store was located on 14th Street.
Now located on 34th Street, Macy’s decorates the windows that run along the Broadway side of the store.
They are usually unveiled the Thursday before Thanksgiving Day and the decorations remain until January 1.
Since the early years, Macy’s has chosen a unique theme each year. The theme for 2023 has yet to be announed.
Last year the windows were unveiled on November 17th. The theme is celebrating togetherness and festive nostalgia.
The beloved blue reindeer Tiptoe was back spreading holiday magic as she visits her woodland friends.
Each window display is unique from the others, with distinct scenes created with classic holiday textiles like flannel, wood, gingerbread, yarn, paper, and mirror.
The window scenes capture moments of "discovery, joy, and excitement, all tied together with the theme of Celebrating the Holidays Together!”, said Macy's in a statement.
In 2021, the window displays told the story of a reindeer named Tiptoe who dreams of flying with Santa for Christmas.
In 2020, the theme was "Give, Love, Believe" and centered on the message of thanks, especially to the first responders and health workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
In 2019, the theme was "Believe In The Wonder".
While the word 'spectacular' doesn't come to mind when looking at pictures of some of the early Macy's holiday window displays, they were sophisticated for the time.
In 1915, one window display featured a painted backdrop of a winter scene. In front of it were toy baby dolls dressed in lace and ruffles.
One doll sits in a wicker rocking chair and another in a wicker baby carriage. Other dolls “fly” above it all.
After Macy’s began decorating its windows over a century ago, the other big department stores shortly followed and today New York City has numerous holiday window displays - each special in its own way.