Signaling the start of the most wonderful time of year, this year’s windows titled “Believe,” not only celebrate the spirit of the season, but also salute nine years of Macy’s “Believe” campaign—a cherished letter writing campaign which raises funds for Make-A-Wish®, the national organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Sure to delight generations of spectators who have grown up with the annual tradition of visiting the windows, as well as those experiencing the enchantment of a New York City Christmas for the first time, this year’s seasonal spectacular provides a distinctive window into the unique spirit of the holiday season in each of the six Broadway windows.
Created by Roya Sullivan, award-winning designer and Macy’s National Director of Window Presentation, Macy’s 2016 Christmas windows combine the wonder of modern technology with stunning visual elements and an extra dose of holiday nostalgia as they bring six key holiday themes to life. Each window is accentuated with an intricate handmade frame indicating the theme of the artistry that lies within. In addition, a fifteen foot tall representation of Santa Claus will take center stage, perched high above the marquee entrance presiding over the festive activity in Broadway Plaza below.
According to Sullivan, “In creating this year’s windows we wanted to focus on the idea of what Christmas meant to us as children. In thinking back to those feelings we kept returning to the idea of six key qualities that truly exemplify the spirit and magic of the season. To build upon that, through the years we have noticed how much kids of all ages enjoy interacting with the windows so we have again incorporated interactive elements with the goal of continuing to creating experiences that allow our audience to play and be part of the action.”
Below is a brief description of each of the six windows:
Window 1 – BELIEVE
Some things never change…some children believe in Santa Claus while others skeptically question his existence, but the one thing that has changed through the years is how they communicate with him. From email and texting, to creating Santa-specific YouTube videos, Window #1 takes a look into Santa’s “Communication Station” where, upon receiving these messages, Santa is able to make his list, and check it twice. Nice children from all over the world are then “matched” up with their gifts. Once a match is made, the gift is magically transported from the communication station up through the magic gifting vortex where they make their way to their delighted recipients.
Window 2 – CELEBRATE
The experience turns interactive in Window #2 in which the audience is invited to celebratethe unique experiences that make the holiday season so special in New York City. A custom designed vintage-style pinball machine is displayed within, with three bumpers each representing the 90th Anniversary of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, skating at Rockefeller Center and the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. By touching the specially designed buttons on the glass, spectators are able to “play” this sentimental arcade favorite, launching the pinball toward the three bumpers which all light up spectacularly upon contact.
Window 3 – TOGETHER
One of the most important themes of the holiday season is exemplified within Window #3…the idea of spending time together. This concept is illustrated by silhouettes staged within a “Family Tree” each highlighting different displays of human interaction and affection. This window not only symbolizes the connections and relationships between loved ones, but also the interconnectedness of nature, with the trees and the branches flowing through and into one another with a crystal forest illuminated against the night sky.
Window 4 – GIVING
Window #4 illustrates the beauty of giving. A majestic gold leaf reindeer rules this window, his delicately bejeweled antlers supporting 25 handmade elves as they generously pass gifts between each other, filling Santa’s sleigh against the backdrop of a crystalline snow covered forest.
Window 5 – LOVE
The elegant beauty of love is presented in Window #5. Set within an intricate oversized jewel box, Santa and Mrs. Claus are shown dancing and sharing a rare private moment. Not only does this window recognize the importance of love for family and friends, but it also salutes the great love that people share for the season. Passersby are once again able to participate in the fun at this window by way of an interactive “love” game which, not only measures the amount of love one has for the season, but also seeks to answer the age old question—“Naughty” or “Nice”?
Window 6 – MAGIC
It all comes together in the grand finale in the final window which shows the magic of Santa’s final preparations on the night before Christmas. In this final installment, Santa is seen against the backdrop of a large scale LED screen, enjoying a vibrant North Pole winter wonderland with his reindeer and other magical elements as the final countdown toward Christmas is underway.
In addition to the six Broadway windows, Macy’s will also be making holiday magic in each of the remaining windows throughout the store. The 34th Street windows will feature scenes from the emerging holiday classic “Yes, Virginia…”
The 2016 Christmas windows at Macy’s Herald Square will be on display through Monday, January 2nd, 2017.
Macy’s Herald Square Christmas Windows Fun Facts:
* Macy’s was the first department store to feature Christmas window displays and has been enchanting generations of spectators since the early 1870’s.
* RH Macy himself began the tradition of animated windows in 1899 at Macy’s original 14thstreet location.
* During peak hours over 10,000 people per hour will pass by the windows.
* Each Christmas window display is a project nearly a year in the making as plans for the next year’s windows begin in January, almost immediately after the windows are taken down.
* It takes a dedicated team of over 250 of Santa’s helpers to bring the windows to life including Macy’s display artists, graphic artists, sculptural artists, animators, carpenters, electricians and music and sound experts.
* Installation of the Christmas windows takes 21 days and nights.