Growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, we had exactly one holiday store window to visit each Christmas.
Every year on Thanksgiving night, after the turkey had been eaten, Mom's homemade rolls devoured and - most important - the Christmas tree was up, we piled into the car and headed downtown to Hutson's Furniture on Main Street. I looked forward to seeing their holiday displays so much, and get a bit nostalgic just thinking about it. (Happily, I hear that the store windows are still going strong all these years later!)
Not surprisingly, one of the things I love about living in New York during the holidays is taking in all of the gorgeous Christmas windows in department stores.
Most windows are revealed - to much media fanfare - about a week before Thanksgiving. In past years, Scott and I might get up early on Thanksgiving, grab a Starbucks, and hit the empty city streets by 6 a.m. to stroll and enjoy.
This year, since we were working that weekend - followed by me traveling the week after Thanksgiving - we had to wait until the following Saturday morning for our annual adventure.
We bundled up, headed down to 34th Street, and started at Macy's - which decorates windows on both the 34th Street and Broadway sides of the store (check out the videos at right and below).
All videos below were taken by Scott, who is a much better photographer than I am. (Being eight inches taller than me, he also has a serious height advantage when taking photos in crowds.)
Then, we headed east over to Fifth Avenue, and up to 39th Street to Lord & Taylor.
In my opinion - with all of the holiday greenery and thousands of tiny clear lights covering the scaffolding along Fifth Avenue - they win the award for "best use of construction scaffolding" in their holiday design. At right - take a walk through the the Lord & Taylor windows.
Next, we continued up Fifth Avenue to 49th Street to check out the scene at Rockefeller Center. During the holidays, Rock Center is usually wall-to-wall people from mid-morning until well past midnight - but at 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning, there was plenty of room to move (and even snag a few pics beneath that famous tree).
Finally, it was across Fifth Avenue to the "Land of 1000 Delights" at Saks - and their own interpretation of The Nutcracker "Sweet."
Before the clock struck 9 a.m., it was time to scurry back uptown and grab breakfast at one of our neighborhood diners before the rest of the camera-wielding crowds arrived in Midtown.
Christmas trees, light displays, holiday windows - what are your favorite holiday traditions?