25X: Window Displays of Affection

Just a quick one today, folks, since I’m on Santa’s naughty list after not prepping enough for this post (apparently when you’re talking about a visual experience, you may want to include images. It’s crazy!)

As we’re jettisoning our last booster rocket on our approach to Christmas, one overarching element that I really love about the holidays is that everybody tries a little bit harder.  People (not everybody, but a lot!) put more effort into getting into the spirit and enjoying this season more than any other time of the year.  People bake more (and eat more), have and attend more parties, are more considerate; people are consumed with this season, and it may be one of the last few shared cultural experiences we still hold on to.  I mean, you don’t have half the country watching the same TV show anymore.


One of the simplest examples of this Santa-sized effort is the storefront window display.  Otherwise some mannequins in a bathing suit, these windows often transform into elaborate storytelling devices during the holidays, with video, animatronics, and music.  Most major cities will have at least one big department store that will feature their signature display, people flocking downtown to see it (and even Disney World had a “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”-themed display while we were there–thanks to HarshLight for posting these photos!), but even smaller businesses step up their game.

Recently, I stopped by Shane Confectionery here in Philadelphia.  This candy shop has a long history (and makes some bangin’ chocolate), and its owners’ pride themselves on honoring tradition.  So it was a treat to see their windows decked out in festive throwback to the first-half of the 20th century.


The windows were stocked full of slightly-creepy vintage toys, stockings, a train set, fresh garland, molded clear toy candies.  The curved glass was glazed with a fake frosting, a cozy reminder of how mom-‘n’-pop shops can sometimes strip away the pomp and circumstance of a big department store’s display and provide their customers with a nostalgic appreciation of yesteryear.


And if the holidays aren’t about reminiscing, what are they about?

(Well, except Jesus and stuff.)



2 thoughts on “25X: Window Displays of Affection

  1. I love Department Store Christmas displays! The best one is Chicago was traditionally the Marshall Field’s on State Street display. A few years ago they were bought by Macy’s and this year’s display was definitely chosen by a corporate marketing team… “The history of this building in Chicago!” … completely pandering because Chicagoans weren’t happy about the rebranding of the store to Macy’s.

    Hopefully next year they’ll offer the display over to local artists or the idea of each window over to local schools. That would be awesome!

    (If Macy’s people read this, PLEASE steal it!)

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