Ready to ogle some gorgeous Christmas window displays? We know, searching for the best holiday gifts for 2016 in NYC can be nightmarish at times—especially if your list forces you to combat the inevitably tourist-packed realm that is Fifth Avenue. But there’s an upside to navigating these painfully busy streets at this time of year: You get to peep department stores’ ornate window displays and Christmas lights. In fact, some of them are so impressive, they might be reason enough to stroll through midtown. (Just wait till the out-of-towners have gone to bed.) Check out our ranking for the best Christmas window displays below!
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Christmas window displays in New York
The theme this year is "Land of 1000 Delights," which includes magical landscapes of colorful candy and festive fashion. From jumbo swirl lollipops, whipped cotton candy and mounds of rock candy, these windows are giving us a major toothache just by looking at them. Also, Saks’ animated center features six windows along Fifth Avenue titled, "The Nutcracker Sweet," where you’ll find Clara and the Mouse King frolicking amongst a luscious playground filled with treats. When you check out the windows, make sure to stick around for the multicolored ten-story tall light show, which the department store is most known for during the holidays. The extravaganza will play daily from 5 to 11pm every ten minutes until Jan 2. And if the store’s outdoor decor wasn't enough to entice shoppers, the store's interior, which now looks like an enchanting winter wonderland, will surely draw the masses.
Macy’s in Herald Square showed off its legendary display titled "Believe,” which inspires onlookers to have faith in the magic of the holiday season. The theme also salutes the department store’s nine-year commitment to its letter writing campaign that raises money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Each of the six windows portray iconic holiday scenes created by designer Roya Sullivan, which includes Santa’s “Communication Station,” a Christmas-themed pinball machine, the North Pole and more.
The luxury retailer’s theme this year is “Love, Peace and Joy,” but you won’t find Santa, reindeer or snowflakes in any of these five windows. Instead, you’ll find creative interpretations of love, peace and joy created by incredible artists, including Rob Pruitt, Nick Cave, Ebony G. Patterson, Studio Job and Trey Parker and Matt Stone of Comedy Central’s South Park. The next time you take a much-needed shopping trip, make sure to take pictures of yourself making either a heart or peace sign with your hands or jumping for joy in front of the displays. If you share these images using the hashtag #LovePeaceJoyProject, Barneys New York Foundation will donate $5 per photo to great causes such as STYLEFUND, a fashion initiative to help women be more confident in how they dress and The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, which teaches children to never give up.
To usher in the holiday season, Bloomingdale’s has partnered with a group of visual artists to create chandeliers which embody their artistic definition of the word "light." There are eight windows in total, designed by Inma Barrero, Erika deVries and Jonah Meyer, Abby Modell, Sean Augustine March, Susanne Bartsch, Allison Eden, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos and George Kroenert. At the end of the holiday season, these one-of-a-kind designs will be auctioned off for the store’s holiday charity partner the Child Mind Institute. After ogling the gorgeous fixtures below, you might feel inclined to attend the auction (click here for details). But you might not want to get too attached—opening bids start at $2,000.
Lord & Taylor showed off its 79th display titled "Enchanted Forest," which takes onlookers through a whimsical journey on Fifth Avenue. Each of the five windows portray scenes from a winter wonderland, including 34 hand-sculpted animals and over 350-square-feet of LED walls that bring each vignette to life. Lord & Taylor’s storefront also got a festive, holiday makeover. The front entrance is now covered in garland, twinkling lights, and when you walk by, you'll hear cheerful holiday music.
This Tiffany-blue display called "Make the World Sparkle," will certainly dazzle any passerby on Fifth Avenue. Due to post-election protests between 56th and 57th Streets, the jewelry connoisseurs felt the need to cancel their official unveiling ceremony, where celebrity guest Reese Witherspoon was expected to make an appearance. (Sad.) Regardless, the windows are still pretty spectacular and totally worth checking out.
Bergdorf Goodman’s iconic display is dubbed “Destination Extraordinary,” which depicts a dreamlike scene of lush, verdant gardens. Senior Director of Visual Presentation David Hoey says, “These windows are landscapes of the unexpected. They are delirious remakes of the classic dioramas seen in natural history museums.” Each of the five and extremely green displays are a unique destination, including titles such as The Winter Garden, The Hitch Hiker and Bird’s Eye View.
Henri Bendel debuted a less-traditional and far more artistic four-story display inspired by Love Wall creator James Goldcrown’s signature Bleeding Hearts mural. After ogling Henri Bendel’s fun holiday window outside, head into the Fifth Avenue flagship’s atrium to pose for photos in front of the mural (using Henri Bendel-branded selfie sticks, no less) and use the hashtag #BendelLoveWall on social media. You’ll also see the iconic, two-story tree adorned with ten massive ornaments as well.