Highlighting the work of Save the Children, Barneys skipped the merry elves and snowmen in favor of holiday windows with a message. (Barneys New York)

Tour NYC’s Best and Brightest Holiday Window Displays

The city’s retail flagships have pulled out the creative stops this season. We’ve picked December’s must-see windows.

The idea of window-shopping in New York City during the holiday season assumes a different meaning as the multitudes crowd the sidewalks outside the city’s flagship department stores and specialty shops for a glimpse inside. The attraction: their over-the-top and imaginatively themed holiday windows. Here’s a look at some of this year’s highlights:

The magical window displays in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store make use of huge digital displays — a first for the 94-year-old retailer. (Saks Fifth Avenue)

On Stage at Saks

The flagship location of Saks Fifth Avenue presents the dreams of a theatergoer as she moves through the store in search of everything, including shoes, cosmetics and more shoes (the branch’s shoe department famously sports its own zip code). As it has for the past few years, the store’s facade — across from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — will also display its own magical 10-story light show.
Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, Midtown East

Space-Age Vision

In an early nod to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Macy’s Herald Square sports an intergalactic theme that depicts the adventures of a moon-faced astronaut called Sunny the Snowpal. Kids can follow her travels through space, while their parents can rest easy in the knowledge that plenty of plush versions of the adorable galactic gal wait inside.
Macy’s Herald Square, 151 West 34th Street at Broadway, Midtown West

Grinches Welcome

Guess Whoville be coming to the Lexington Avenue storefronts of Bloomingdale’s this year? You got it, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch! Created in partnership with Universal Pictures, which recently released a new animated version of the classic tale, the windows immerse viewers in an interactive journey of the famous grump’s redemption. Oh, the places you’ll go as you take a selfie that becomes part of the scene, push buttons to play music, and peer through a telescope for a closeup of the display.
Bloomingdale’s, 1000 Third Avenue at 59th Street, Midtown East

Barneys windows showcase the retailer’s “Make Change” holiday campaign, reinforcing the value of even the smallest acts of giving. (Barneys New York)

Windows With a Message

Fashion isn’t the only thing that’s forward at Barneys New York. The quintessential Big Apple brand has always skewed toward the socially-conscious in its holiday decor, and this year is no exception. Barneys, in partnership with Save the Children, is offering the copper tones and mint green patina of the penny — the nonprofit’s traditional token of giving — for a more muted version of the traditional ruby and emerald holiday palette. Versions of the theme appear throughout the store’s Upper East Side and Chelsea branches.
Barneys New York, 660 Madison Avenue at 61st Street, Upper East Side

All the Trimmings

Luxury leather goods purveyor Louis Vuitton plays with the holiday ritual of trimming the tree by turning the spotlight away from pines and firs to unexpected forms. Look for bedecked and beribboned bonsai, palms and cacti, all ornamented with cultural symbols like the Japanese lucky cat, the Parisian croissant and, of course, LV-monikered totes.
Louis Vuitton, 1 East 57th Street at Fifth Avenue, Midtown East

Sweet Visions at Bergdorf’s

It’s all sweetness and light at the women’s and men’s stores of the one-and-only Bergdorf Goodman, where concoctions of gingerbread, chocolate, licorice and peppermint are interspersed with creations from Tom Ford, Caroline Herrera and Dolce & Gabbana. The match ups are positively mouthwatering, perhaps none more so than a “cotton candy dream” fashioned around the gossamer garments of Rodarte.
Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Midtown West

Tiffany’s icy window displays, with their iconic articulated chrome figures, pay tribute to the company’s longtime Artistic Director, Gene Moore. (Tiffany & Co.)

A Little Bling for the Season

Entrancing miniature gems in themselves at any time of the year, the windows at Tiffany & Co. really sparkle during the holiday season. Harkening back to its classic 1960s displays, the jewelry purveyor is reintroducing an articulated chrome figure that interacts with, among other objects, a robot made of the store’s signature blue boxes. Besides variations on this pastel tone, bursts of neon hues bring modern energy to the windows.
Tiffany & Co., 727 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Midtown East

Finale for an Icon

As Lord & Taylor prepares to permanently close its flagship location on Fifth Avenue next year, it will shorten its presentation from the usual six windows to just two. In line with the grande dame’s long-held preference for Victorian-inspired dioramas soaked in nostalgia, this year’s displays cast a backward glance at the brand through the decades and sends a fond farewell to its loyal customers.
Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street, Midtown West