Christmas at Macy's.
Just those three words alone put me in the holiday spirit. Over the years, Macy's has created a rich Christmas history full of traditions, holiday spirit and magical decorations. In fact, for many, the holiday season officially begins when Santa arrives at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or maybe a trip to Macy's Santaland marks the beginning of Christmas for a child. One thing is for sure: this department store knows how to do Christmas right.
Speaking of Macy’s Santaland, it’s this very place that is featured in The Santaland Diaries,
which is the hilarious account of David Sedaris’ experiences as Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s during the holidays. Although the show may be a little snarky, the holiday seemingly ripped apart by David Sedaris' sharp-tongued wit, in the end it has a lot of heart, and for many has become another holiday tradition.
Santaland at Macy's (especially at the 34th Street flagship store in New York City) is not exactly your typical "Santa at the mall" experience. It's an entire magical land that could quite possibly make anyone question their beliefs, or lack thereof, on Santa. One hop on the Macyland Express
and you are practically transported to the North Pole. The Christmas scenes that surround the path to Santa often include an enchanted forest, model train displays, bags of toys, glittering candy canes and much more. This seems quite fitting for a store that has a Christmas campaign called "Believe."
Aside from the elaborate and enchanting decorations found inside of the store, the NYC Macy’s window displays
also draw thousands of visitors each season, who are eager to see the Christmas window exhibits.
Amongst the most popular of these is the classic Miracle on 34th Street-themed display. Many of the displays are interactive too! In 2009, visitors could send their own letters
to good ol’ St. Nick from right outside the window.
However, the most popular Macy’s Christmas tradition is one that is watched by
millions every year: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Although this parade
takes place on Thanksgiving, the majority of the parade is Christmas themed and concludes with a memorable finale when Santa arrives, officially ringing in the Christmas season.
The first Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. At this time, it was called
Macy’s Christmas Parade
. The parade was complete with three floats, zoo animals
and four bands. Following the parade route from 145th Street and Convent Avenue
to the Macy’s store at 34th Street and Broadway, this event turned into a timeless tradition. Gigantic balloons were added to the parade in 1927 and are now a
signature feature of the parade.
The 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street
helped the parade become known nationwide, as the parade was a prominent part of the movie. Miracle on 34th Street
tells the story of a man named Kris Kringle who dresses as Santa Clause in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After doing such an excellent job in the parade, he is then asked to become Macy’s own Santa Claus at the 34th
Do you have any childhood memories of visiting with Santa? We’d love to hear them!
The Santaland Diaries runs through December 30.