An elaborate nativity scene tops off a Northern California Sears store, in a circa 1962 photo from Display World magazine. King Herod’s palace looms in the background. In real life, the Herodium, as it was called, was only three miles or so away from Bethehem, so the artistic depiction makes sense. It’s a very nice contrast to the typical Santa/Christmas Bells/Snowflakes themes most often seen on their holiday store exteriors. Artificial palm trees complete the effect.
As you can see, this architectural design featured real palm trees as well. A bonafide classic, Sears built scores of units similar to it in the West (see examples 1, 2), their strongest region at that point in time.
In a nod to the secular Christmas tradition, a white-flocked (As they all should be. At Sears, at least!) Christmas tree is visible in one of the main floor display windows.
This store still exists in Mountain View, California at the San Antonio Shopping Center, located on that state’s historic El Camino Real highway route. Not sure if they went with a Nativity scene this year (my suspicion is they haven’t in years), but flocked Christmas trees are probably a safe bet.
And once again, since we’re talking Sears, thought I’d mention the great Wish Book Web site – featuring Sears Christmas catalogs from several classic eras, scanned in full for your dream-reliving pleasure. Fun stuff, especially at this time of year!