MACY’S 2012 ANIMATED HOLIDAY WINDOWS
The Story: “The Magic of Christmas”
The 45th annual animated holiday windows bring nostalgia to Chicagoans
this year, touching on Macy’s history at the State Street store, emphasizing the iconic Marshall Field’s traditions of the past, and Macy’s commitment to continuing those traditions today.
Below are descriptions of each of the windows and why they play an important role in telling the story and history of holiday nostalgia at Macy’s on State Street.
150 Years of Fashion
- In 1941, the 28 Shop was opened selling haute couture to woman of the Midwest. The 28 Shop was named for the traditional entrance of the carriage trade (28 W. Washington).
- Christian Dior and Yves St. Laurent made their first trips to America to visit the 28 Shop in the fall of 1957.
- In the 1920s, 1930s and beyond, women would read about the latest styles and trends in “Fashions of the Hour,” Marshall Field’s own bi-monthly magazine on fashion and celebrities.
- Macy’s continues to adapt and flow with new demands in fashion for all ages in an ever-changing society.
- The Great Clock on State and Washington was installed in 1897; 10 years later a second identical clock went up at State and Randolph.
- Each clock is made of seven tons of cast bronze and hung by ornamental ironwork.
- The Great Clock was immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting for the Nov. 3, 1945 cover of “The Saturday Evening Post.” The painting depicts a repairman setting the landmark by his own pocket watch. This painting is currently on display at the Chicago History Museum.
- Macy’s still operates the Great Clocks today using satellite technology.
- Uncle Mistletoe debuted in 1946 as a character in the Marshall Field’s holiday windows. He was a combination of the designer’s favorite uncle and a Dickens-type character.
- During the holidays, children would swarm the animated windows to see what Marshall Field’s popular characters, Uncle Mistletoe, Aunt Holly, Freddy Fieldmouse and the gang were up to.
- Uncle Mistletoe was an instant hit and starred in a children’s television show called “The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe.”
- These loveable characters were present in the store at the holidays for decades.
- Uncle Mistletoe will make an appearance at Macy’s State Street again this year.
- Opening in the late 1890s, the Walnut Room was the very first restaurant in a U.S. department store.
- Mrs. Hering, a store employee, would bring homemade chicken pot pies to customers visiting her department so they didn’t need to leave when they got hungry.
-Mrs. Hering’s actions lead to the idea for a restaurant inside a department store.
- Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie recipe is still the most popular dish on the menu.
- In 2007, Macy’s added a wine bar to the Walnut Room, introducing the historic restaurant to a new audience.
SantaLand® (aka Cozy Cloud)
- The Tiffany Ceiling is 6,000 square feet, the largest of its kind.
- The Tiffany Ceiling was installed in 1907.
- Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, this turn-of-the-century mosaic was created from 1.6 million pieces of Favrile glass and laid by hand by more than 50 men over two years under the supervision of Tiffany himself.
- The best place to view the Tiffany Ceiling up-close is on the 5th floor of Macy’s State Street in the Lingerie department.
Miracle and Believe
- When Macy’s on State Street was Marshall Field’s, this area would have been known to visitors as Cozy Cloud, where children could visit Uncle Mistletoe and Santa in-person.
- Today, SantaLand is located on the 5th floor of Macy’s and is considered Santa’s home away from home.
- Based on the New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial, Macy’s Believe campaign invites believers of all ages to write and drop off letters to Santa at any Macy’s store by depositing them in special, Santa mail letterboxes. For each letter received, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medial conditions.
- 2012 marks the fifth year of Macy’s Believe campaign and since its inception, Macy’s has donated more than $4 million to Make-A-Wish.
- Macy’s relationship with Make-A-Wish began in 2003 and thanks to the generosity of our employees and customers; Macy’s has raised more than $53 million for the charity.
- The Believe campaign kicks off in all Macy’s stores on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 and continues through Dec. 24, 2012.
- It takes a team of approximately 60 painters, welders, engineers, costume makers, carpenters and visual artists to produce, create and install the windows, with the planning process taking approximately eight months and installation taking approximately one week from start to finish.
- In the early days, the windows were packed with wind-up toys and stuffed animals. The mechanical toys had to be wound on the hour and hundreds of children would wait outside the store to watch them spring to life.
- In the 1920s, the windows began to tell stories with animated figures that were complex enough to impress adults and whimsical enough to delight children.
- The “snow” visitors see in the windows is made of Kosher salt because it doesn’t change consistency when it gets cold; Macy’s on State Street uses approx. 125 (50 pound) bags of Kosher salt in one holiday season.