There are plenty of people out there ready to “bah humbug” the decorations that seem to be creeping into stores earlier every year, but it’s hard to deny there is something truly magical about the tradition of the classic storefront window display that marks the start of the festive season.
It would be impossible for even the biggest Scrooge not to get caught up in the Christmas cheer of these 11 festive window displays.
Myer, Melbourne, Australia
A Winter Wonderland isn’t quite what you’d expect from an Australian Christmas, but it’s exactly what downtown shoppers will be getting when they venture to Myer in Melbourne this year.
For Myer’s 59th Christmas animated window, a team of more than 40 artisans created a 3D adaption of the children’s book “Santa Claus and the Three Bears” by Maria Modugno.
A group of skilled workers spent 17,000 hours putting together the scene from a range of materials including more than 650 feet of glitter jazz fabric, 110 pounds of faux snow and 55 pounds of sugar glitter.
For the grand unveiling on Nov. 8, Bourke Street Mall was transformed into a little slice of the North Pole as a blanket of “snow” fell from the Myer rooftop.
Selfridges, London, United Kingdom
Dedicated to some of the most enchanting tales of all time, from the 300-year-old “Sleeping Beauty” right up to 1978’s “The Snowman,” Selfridges’ 2014 window display honors 25 classic stories by giving them a contemporary, luxurious twist.
Topping things off is the giant “Destination Christmas” centerpiece made with more than 10,000 lights and complete with Selfridges’ own top-hatted and monocled Golden Goose.
Sticking with the storytelling theme, Selfridges’ in-store cinema will screen several classic tales like “Pinocchio” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” over the Christmas period.
Macy’s, New York, N.Y., United States
Macy’s was the first department store in New York to introduce holiday window displays when it debuted as an animated Christmas window in the early 1870s.
The team at Macy’s spend an entire year planning out each display and the process begins almost immediately after the previous year’s is taken down.
When it comes to installation, it takes a talented team of Macy’s display artists, graphic artists, sculptural artists, builders, animators, carpenters, electricians and music and sound experts 21 days and nights to complete the mammoth task.
This year’s theme, “Santa’s Journey to the Stars,” will be unveiled on Nov. 20. Shoppers will be treated to a display of custom-made planets, handmade elves and toys lit by the twinkle of thousands of lights.
La Maison Ogilvy, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Founded in 1866, Montreal’s La Maison Ogilvy started life as a dry-goods store – a far cry from today’s luxury, boutique department store.
Every year since 1947, the store unveils its much-loved holiday window. From Nov. 14 until the first week of January the acclaimed “Mill in the Forest” mechanical display returns to enchant shoppers with its dancing ducks, bears, rabbits, screaming monkeys and the ever popular jumping frogs.
And if you’re wondering why the critters look a little extra stylish this year it’s thanks to the team at Harricana by Mariouche who created their eco-friendly outfits.
Fortnum & Mason, London, United Kingdom
One of London’s finest food and drink stores is filled with delicious Christmas treats and beautiful decorations.
Fortnum & Mason has been decorating its shop front since the 1880s and the 2014 theme harks back even further to the days of the “Frost Fayre” when a frozen-over River Thames would host markets and carnivals.
Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France
Things are getting a little topsy turvy at Paris’s iconic Galeries Lafayette this Noel. For 2014, Galeries Lafayette’s iconic 82-foot-tall Christmas tree will be standing on its head!
Suspended from the store’s famous 100-year-old Art Nouveau dome, the brilliantly colored tree will feature a “monstrous” sound and light display every hour set to dazzle an estimated 150,000 visitors every day.
Bringing a good dose of festive mischief to proceedings, Gustave the Monster and his gang of fuzzy buddies are set to star in the store’s animated window display on Boulevard Haussmann.
Smith & Caughey’s, Auckland, New Zealand
Smith & Caughey’s, New Zealand’s leading department store, has been a fixture on the Queen Street shopping strip since the 1880s.
Based on the children’s book “A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas” by Philip Yates and Sebastia Serra, this year’s theme fits perfectly with Auckland’s maritime history and status as the “City of Sails.”
Twelve cannons blasting, nine mermaids singing, six Jolly Rogers, three black cats and a parrot in a palm tree – your little pirates will love it!
Bergdorf Goodman, New York, N.Y., United States
Art is the name of the season at Bergdorf Goodman this Christmas.
From Nov. 17, window-shoppers will be treated to a celebration of creativity with each of the store’s five main Fifth Avenue windows dedicated to different art forms — literature, architecture, theater, painting and music — while the 57th Street windows will highlight dance, sculpture and film.
It took Bergdorf Goodman’s team of display artists 11 months to complete the incredibly detailed “Inspired” theme that includes a needlework of 7 million individual stitches, a custom hand‐painted Dolce and Gabbana gown and a 3D sculpture made entirely from paper.
Revealed! The Holiday 2014 Windows theme: The Arts. This showstopper is inspired by the Theater #BGHoliday #WhiteChristmasatBG #UNICEFsnowflake
A photo posted by Bergdorf Goodman (@bergdorfs) on
Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin & London, United Kingdom & Ireland
Mannequins transformed into wonderful woodland creatures posed beneath a canopy of Christmas tree branches, metallic acorns and pinecones – enter another world with Harvey Nichols’ “Enchanted Forest.”
Staff worked around the clock to install the immersive display in stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The scene includes 91,338 feet of lights and 20,000 feet of pipe cleaners (yes, pipe cleaners) that were used to make 67 hand-crafted forest creatures.
In addition to the windows, Harvey Nichols’ flagship Knightsbridge branch boasts 210 Christmas trees throughout the store.
David Jones, Sydney, Australia
Founded in 1838, David Jones is said to be the oldest continuously run department store in the world and has been bringing Christmas cheer to Sydney shoppers for 176 years.
This year David Jones commissioned its very own Christmas story, “Reindeer’s Christmas Surprise,” and the 2014 display is centered on its title character, the very aptly named, Reindeer.
Showcased over six windows, the display of hand-crafted puppets and animated scenes is the result of six months’ work and more than 5,000 man-hours.
Bloomingdale’s, New York, N.Y., United States
The look of Bloomingdale’s 2014 display is being kept tightly under wraps until Nov. 25, but if last year’s travel-inspired theme is anything to go by, it certainly won’t disappoint.
For 2013, onlookers were treated to windows celebrating holiday shopping around the world including China, France, United Kingdom, Italy and the world of Bloomingdale’s in New York.
This year, Bloomingdale’s is set to take things to a whole new level with an interactive offering.
Featured image by Harvey Nichols/Stuart Wilson at Getty Images