We know the holiday season is truly in full swing here in New York City when the big retailers unveil their annual window displays. It seems like they work hard year-round to make each year's display bigger and brighter than the last — but that's okay, because we get to benefit from their labor of love.
Can't make it to the Big Apple? We've rounded up all our favorites right here so you can get a piece of the magic without ever leaving the comfort of your Snuggie. Pass the hot chocolate, please.
Tiffany & Co.
The work of Vice President of Creative and Visual Merchandising Richard Moore, the 2014 Tiffany & Co holiday windows center around 1950s and '60s illustrations of New York, and for the first time, the brand has incorporated animated elements. "Each window has an animated component, which is especially great at holiday time," Moore tells Fashionista. "In addition, we've built a big facade program and an illuminated piece of jewelry which lives on the 5th Avenue side."
You can watch the diamond-inspired installation in action in the video above, and get a sneak peek at the whimsical windows, including Moore's top pick. "My favorite window is the Broadway scene," Moore says. "It has that very classic, New York Broadway quality to it, but it also creates a perfect scene to showcase the jewelry within."
Bergdorf Goodman puts a ton of work into its windows — as documented in the film "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" — and this year's display is no exception. David Hoey, senior director of visual presentation, started planning these windows with the creative team over 11 months ago. (So basically, they're probably planning next year's windows right now.) Bergdorf's wants you to have an "Inspired" holiday, so each window on 5th Avenue is themed after an art form: architecture, literature, theatre, painting, and music. (58th Street continues the theme with dance, sculpture and film.)
Barneys New York
This year, Barneys New York partnered with filmmaking duo (and married couple) Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin for its holiday windows. Much like their films, the windows — with a storyline themed after their personal mantra of “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love” — are completely over the top, complete with live performances. Prepared to be "Baz-Dazzled."
Despite having less window real estate than its competitors, Henri Bendel still manages to pack in the holiday punch. This year, the brand focused on recreating an enchanted garden; since the company has cut all third-party brands, it's filled to the brim with Henri Bendel products. Inside the atrium is a two-story birch tree with oversized ornaments — the regular sizes of which can, of course, be purchased at Bendel's.
Macy's may send Santa through the New York City streets for its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, but for the 2014 holiday windows, they sent him much, much further away — as in space. Follow him through the galaxy, from Neptune and Uranus (sorry, Pluto, we miss you, too) all the way to Earth to deliver a special kid's Christmas wish.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue has put together an "Enchanted Experience," comprised of LEDs, strobes, up-lights, video projections and music. Meant to pay homage to the Art Deco 1920s — the time period during which Saks was founded, according to the release — classic fairy tales are given a New York City backdrop. Rapunzel swinging from the Empire State Building by her hair? Only at Saks.
Lord & Taylor
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Lord & Taylor 5th Avenue location went all-out for the holidays this year. It's the first time the retailer has incorporated technology, taking customers through "the whimsical interiors of an enchanted mansion on the eve of the holidays." And they asked Nick Jonas to help unveil them — because what says "Happy Holidays" better than a dude who recently got buff and stripped down to grab his junk? (Um, nothing.)
Bloomingdale's really "Let It Go" this season by allowing Broadway star Idina Menzel to unveil its windows. For 2014, the windows are interactive, allowing customers to play games and "Put a Bow on It" using the hashtag #bloomiesgreetings on social media. Bloomingdale's even promises the possibility of winning a "sweet surprise."