Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Christmas to You!

It’s early in the day, and the crowds haven’t formed yet at Macy’s famous flagship store on Herald Square in the heart of Manhattan. You can be sure that they will, though, because it’s Christmastime, and for many people, shopping at Macy’s has long been an integral part of the holiday. Macy’s was a national name long before they became a national chain, a notoriety that grew immensely with the release of the 1947 film “Miracle on 34th Street”, and the first national telecasts of its famous Thanksgiving Day parade.

And then there were the famous Christmas window displays, including this one from 1959 entitled “A Fantasy of Christmas”, probably one of the most famous displays in retail history. Covering the entire span of Macy’s Broadway storefront, the display consisted of a series of dioramas of street scenes, using a centuries-old European art technique called “vue d’optique”, a form of perspective view. With “color and glitter…dancing lights and figures in motion”, as a Macy’s ad in the New York Times put it, tied together with a white and gold framework, it had to have been an amazing sight.

Today the store still exists, its famous facade, gilt “Macy’s” lettering and clock still intact. Every year, excited crowds flock to see their latest Christmas display. This one would have been something else again, though!

I want to take this opportunity, once again, to thank all of you who read this site on regular basis. I hope in a small way it brings some form of good memories, or comfort, or a bit of interesting history. For me, your readership, comments and kind e-mails have made the effort more than worth it.

Wishing you the Joy and the real meaning of Christmas for both you and your families, and a healthy and happy New Year. Talk to you soon!



  1. Where's the famous Field's clock?

    Just kidding! A little Chicago Christmas humor the day after Christmas.

  2. If I had it, maybe I should have done a Davison's Christmas post to compliment yours...Georgia's little peculiar division of Macy's for about 60 years.

    I'd love to see something on LaSalle's since Davison's and Bamberger's get a tad more attention and photos. Hope you had a great Christmas!

  3. Hey Didi-I don't know if anyone else got the joke but it certainly made me smile.

    Speaking of Christmas jokes, have you seen Macy's tribute to the former Marshall Field's in their windows this year? For those who have not seen them, the story follows the progress of a letter mailed to Santa. The one window I find funny is the one where the girl is mailing her letter. You have a corner of the State St. store in the background, complete with the famous clock and in the forground is the mailbox with the name "R.H. Macy's" on it. Need I say more?

    Happy New Year everyone

  4. You've done amazing work on your blog and I've been enjoying it. Happy New Year from the Thriftgoddess!

  5. Mike, I think the RH Macy's just give me nightmares. They must have set up the one for an early Halloween 2010.

  6. Steve – Thanks very much, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well! Best wishes for the New Year.

    Didi – I don’t know…oh, that’s right, Macy’s has a second clock in Chicago. Ugh!

    J.T. – It would be great to see you do a post on Davison’s. My mom’s family is from the north Georgia and Atlanta areas, and I remember the affection they had for both Davison’s and Rich’s through the years. I think I may have a couple of things on LaSalle’s but not much. I do have quite a bit on Bamberger’s, though. One of these days I want to do some posts on the “pre-Federated” Macy’s.

    I had a great Christmas, and I hope yours was as well!

    Mike – It’s funny and sad at the same time. It’s so amazingly tone deaf from a public relations standpoint.

    Happy New Year to you!

    Thriftgoddess – Thanks so much, and I hope your new year is great as well!