On Facebook tonight, a friend posted a Nordstrom store sign from 2011: “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 27. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.” If this is, indeed, a Nordstrom tradition, it’s nice to see some restraint.
I started thinking, though, about all of the window decorations at department stores as they head into this holiday season. In the mid-1900’s, touring big city window displays was a family event. I can remember, in the far distant past, a Christmas when my dad took us into Washington, D.C. to look at the windows of Woodward & Lothrop, a large department store on F & G streets. (Considering that we moved away from Tacoma Park, MD when I was in third grade, this would have to have been in the late 1960’s.) I don’t know how long I stood in front of each display, but I remember thinking it wasn’t long enough to enjoy the intricacy of the ornaments and themes. Woodies had a friendly rivalry with Hecht’s, Lord and Taylor and other local department stores, so I’m not sure how many places we really went, but I would love to go back in time.
Today at the mall, the windows are decorated, too; however, the sight of Christmas at the mall, with all of its stimulating lights, sounds, and smells, can be overwhelming–and entirely too warm. I remember that evening when we were walking from window to window outdoors–I’m pretty sure I was either under dressed (not likely, knowing my mom) or it was bitter cold.
I spent some time looking through historical photos available on the web, but nothing strikes me as similar to my precious memory of that time, and I’m sure few people took photos with camera and film–ahhh, the wonders I could have captured back then with an iPhone!
I did find a interesting article that highlighted some of the best modern store windows in New York City. I’m including a link so that you can tickle your imagination, too.