Throughout Europe, commencing around the middle of November, big department stores gather forces to produce the most ethereal and pleasing Christmas window displays. Thoughtfulness and care is given to every aspect of their Christmas decorating, both inside and outside the establishment. Considering that most occupy an entire city block, this results in any number of displays to attract the shop-weary wanderers. A carefully selected theme allows for different scenes to be represented behind glass walls, many of which will be viewed and photographed by hundreds of thousands. Some are so renown, that long queues form during the holiday season to catch a glimpse.
Fortnum & Mason in London
London boasts some of the most spectacular department stores in Europe and does not lag behind in the Christmas season. Fortnum & Mason near Piccadilly Circus is one of a kind. Having first opened its’ doors in 1707, it has a longstanding tradition of offering the best possible British goodies and has seen many Christmases go by.
Each of their windows pays homage to different fairytales, Christmas stories, types of food and are usually colour-themed. Every imaginable space is taken up, the smallest details jostling for attention with bigger atrezzo. The viewer has the sensation of being able to actually lean into the scene, smelling the fresh cakes, teas and jams. Hunger is induced just by looking at the different tableaux; this is pure intoxication of the senses.
Harrods as a another London Favourite
No less spectacular is the show that Harrods creates for their windows. Following along a completely different concept, fashion portrayed at its festive best is the main theme that is revealed. Designer names are mixed with Harrods’ staples such as teacups and teddy bears. Also enjoying a long-time tradition in British life, the store has been running strong since 1849.
While people urgently press their noses up against the glass, their hearts are either quickened by the thought of possible Christmas gifts or submerged in a sea of woe, mulling over what they will never be able to purchase. These windows induce a different type of salivation, nothing to do with hunger. An image projected of new clothes, new ideas and new beginnings. Changing and becoming a better person. No less magical, of course.
Galeries Lafayette in Paris
The absolute belle of the ball, who but the French could possibly excel so brilliantly in creating the perfect Christmas displays? The perfect mix of fashion, products and the cutest animated figures grace Lafayette’s windows. Teddy bears that dine at a food-laden table, rabbits that revel in a pyramid of cocktail glasses, mannequins dressed to the nines, lazily sprawled among incredible gift ideas.
This is truly a holiday landscape, filled with passion and creativity. The windows beckon and call, adding to the influx of people who end up wandering its marvellous floors.
Christmas may be annoying at times, long and strenuous, but taking time out to feel like a child once again and see the magic brought to life in the shop windows is always an incredible experience. The expectation of what will be on display each consecutive year leave many wishing away the time until Christmas is once again in our midst.