Macy's window displays to feature 'The Magic of Christmas'

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Macy's wants visitors to its Downtown store to have a storybook holiday.

The department store will mark the start of the shopping season Friday with window displays that designers dressed as pages in a book with the theme, “The Magic of Christmas.”

“We are happy to do the windows every year because generations of families have come to see the holiday windows,” said Lisa Zwirn, Macy's visual manager, who was putting on the finishing touches during a Wednesday preview. “And that is what the holidays are all about.”

The designs touch on seasonal traditions such as Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and an animated special about Virginia O'Hanlon, an 8-yearold who asked a newspaper editor in 1897 about Santa Claus, inspiring the famous, “Yes Virginia” editorial.

Two Pittsburgh-inspired windows feature a historic meeting place under a nearby clock and the PPG ice rink, which opened in 2001.

The Kaufmann's clock, which will celebrate 100 years in 2013, is part of a display that shows a woman dressed in a sparkly blue gown and fur wrap and a man in a black tuxedo. Both are checking their wrist watches.

“They have a very important date,” said Zwirn. The clock was a traditional meeting place for Pittsburghers in Downtown.

Visitors will notice displays have parts of the city's skyline and a bridge.

The displays are hand-painted in New York with additional embellishments added here.

The “Yes Virginia” and “Believe” window is based on the New York Sun's famous editorial and Macy's “Believe” campaign, which invites people to drop off letters to Santa. Macy's donates $1 for each letter to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This is the fifth year for the campaign, which has donated more than $4 million. Digital frames show the faces and wishes of the kids.

“Those photos give the display a personal touch because you see the faces of those children,” Zwirn said.

The little boy in the parade window is representative of Paul Olszewski, director of windows for Macy's who oversees them from New York City.

The windows have a retro, vintage feel while representing the tradition and magic of Christmas, said Kamal Bosamia, Macy's media relations manager for the North and Midwest regions.

“The Macy's holiday window unveiling is a tradition for more than 100 years and ushers in the holiday season for all of Pittsburgh,” says Joe Hladiuk, vice-president and manager of the Downtown store.

For more than 35 weeks, Zwirn and a small army of carpenters, machinists, artisans and animators have worked to bring each scene to life. The store will unveil them at 7 p.m. Friday during Light Up Night festivities, keeping them on display through Jan. 7.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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