Peering through Christmas windows


Saks window displays line 5th avenue. Christina Weiler ’17

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Ever since the late 1800s, residents of Manhattan have rung in the Christmas season by decorating the avenues with twinkling lights, red ribbons, and holiday-themed window displays. When stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, and Barney’s first showcased window displays, they intended to advertistheir stores to the public. But, visiting these displays quickly became a holiday tradition for families nationwide.
Originally, bright lights and dazzling features stopped shoppers as they walked by, encouraging them to enter and purchase items from the store, according to zady.comThis marketing technique soon became an anticipated holiday tradition.
Since the tradition began, the opulence of the window designs has intensified. According to, the lavish windows were a healthy example of a prosperous American industry and economy. Tourists and locals alike began to crowd the streets of midtown Manhattan to see the windows, reminding people of the economic strength of the nation, according to 
These scenes continue to brighten the streets of Manhattan today. The windows debut each year in mid-November and last until the end of December. During this month and a half, anyone is able to view the windows at no cost, according to The New York Times
Every year, each store chooses a theme for the design of the displays. The employees at Saks and Bergdorf’s annually execute styles that complement the clothes and jewelry.
This year, the staff at Saks spruced up the windows with scenes following the theme, Winter Palace. Staged gowns and tuxes reside in various places that represent different locations around the world. Frosty blue clouds carry a mannequin wearing a crystal studded gown that poses over a Roman Colosseum. In another window, a mannequin in a wedding dress models over a chair and chandeliers that make the ceiling glitter.
Similarly, several blocks down Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf’s also displays holiday windows. According to, designers at Swarovski collaborated with the department store and bedazzled the various windows with crystals. In one window, an elaborately dressed mannequin sits on a velvet throne as two more armored mannequins stand by her side. 
The design team at Lord & Taylor composed its Christmas windows in a different way. Instead of modeling fashion, Lord and Taylor’s scenes include holiday gadgets and treats. One window encloses a rotating tier of cupcakes and gingerbread men. Sugary crystals illuminate the modeled wood walls of a fabricated bakery.
Holiday window displays are not confined to Manhattan. There are many stores on Greenwich Avenue with holiday window displays. Ralph Lauren’s window designers created several wintry scenes that constantly stop Christmas shoppers and pedestrians in the area. 
– Christina Weiler, Staff Writer