Christmas Window Displays

NYC Christmas '03 photo by Lynda Quintero

After 25 years of working in the Retail Industry, I found myself this past Black Friday overwhelming disconnected. I didn't have to be at "the store" to pass out snow=globes, Rudolph antlers, or a silly red lit noses at 4AM. I was home watching it happen on the television. But as I watched the news report of the stores, eagerly awaiting the onslaught of shoppers, I learned of an actual exhibit paying TRIBUTE to the LOST art and craft of Holiday Windows and Displays... all things CREATIVE. Window displays, especially as theatrical as Christmas, has actually become a part of OUR AmerciCAN history. So much so that the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, in Washington DC,  is exhibiting the trade in all its glory.

Woodword-Lothrop 1965 postcard displayed

Main Aisle Marshall Fields 1956 photo featured at

“Holidays on Display,” is an exhibition examining the art, industry and history of commercial holiday display from the 1920s to the 1960s. It is open on the museum’s third floor, west. Recently, Larry Bird, the show’s curator, guided visitors through the gallery, narrating the colorful history of parade floats, including examples from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade, and the theatrical settings and window displays of department stores like Macy’s, Marshall Field and Co. and John Wanamaker’s 

Elephant Balloon float 1927

1940's Catalog Cover

LONG BEFORE THE INTERNET, Catalogs were the extension of the brick & mortar means of shopping. The styling and production of the catalog is yet another loss to the retail industry.

photo by Lynda Quintero

It not only brought a tear to my eye, but a smile to my face to know SOMEONE appreciates the craft and talent that goes into displays. Over the years, I've watched it shift from being talent to task oriented (especially down here in South Florida).  Before it was about "giving" a form of entertainment to consumers and to help lure them into stores. Now all stores do is slap up a banner screaming 50% Off! and then they are expected to meet or beat some kooky sales goal some suit in an office in another state dreamed up the night before.

Stack Out Merchandising at Macy's NYC 2003
"Stack 'Em High and Watch 'Em Fly"

Me merchandising Christmas Home Fragrance - Claire Burke - '94 at JCPenney, Aventura

Although my experience in display and merchandising was developed down here, I was raised seeing and being a part of Americas history while strolling down Fifth Avenue with my Godmother. I can't be up north this Christmas, but I still reminisce of the fabulous window displays I was raised on. A few years ago, I was able to journey up to the City to see them, and even looking at them today, I find their presentation timeless...

NYC Christmas '03 photo by Lynda Quintero

NYC Christmas '03 photo by Lynda Quintero

Above are stores utilizing a technique called Color Blocking, which in Interior Design would be called monochromatic, or now-a-days, color pop. This technique in window displays creates a greater IMPACT, causing the shopper to STOP dead in their tracks. Here's where the hope of the retailer is to compel you to come in.

Brooks Brothers Christmas Window NYC Christmas '03
photo by Lynda Quintero

Banana Republic Christmas Window NYC Christmas '03
photo by Lynda Quintero

Again, here retailers not only hoping the color impact will stop to bring you in, but the subtly of the sweepstakes also plays a part in the allure to lure.
Usually window displays are about a trend, but at Christmas time, they can be themed as Saks did one year with music...

photos by Lynda Quintero

Or windows can be nostalgic, dreamy, and whimsical

photos by Lynda Quintero

My faves by far are those with glamor and GLTIZ....

photos by Lynda Quintero

So if you're in a bubble,

break yourself free,
and take a stroll down Fifth for me...

Lord & Taylor Entrance Christmas 2003
photo by Lynda Quintero

Thanks for stopping by...



  1. Great photos, Lynda! I really loved the monochromatic designs - the green one was especially awesome in my book.


  2. Thanks Kristin, both for the compliment and visiting Focal Point!



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