Thanksgiving is only one day away, and that brings us to a time of family togetherness and also holiday shopping. Every year they seem to be starting Christmas advertising earlier and earlier. Even on the radio, they started playing Christmas music in early November. I have noticed minimal Thanksgiving advertising. I sent my assistant Meredith to check out the holiday scene in Manhattan, and where better than one of the largest department stores in the world?, Macy’s.
She walked the whole perimeter of Macy’s and noticed a clash between Christmas and Thanksgiving. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was being set up as well as Macy’s Santaland.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy’s first annual Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924. There was a heavy police presence as the parade was being set up in full swing. It was also very crowded with people shopping and watching the parade be set up by multiple media outlets. Meredith started off at near the end of the parade route between 5th and 6th Avenue. The parade route begins at 77th Street at 9:00 am on Thanksgiving Day in Central Park West, ending in Midtown in front of Macy’s at 12:00pm.
Inside the store there was parade merchandise being specially sold in this location which is smart marketing. There were tote canvas bags, mugs, and scarves. They were on the ground level as you first walked in the store and also a few floors up as well in the arcade section.
See above: TV crews setting up for the parade between 5th and 7th avenue
See above: Displays for the parade inside Macy’s at Herald Square
While walking around the interior of the store, there were many Pre-Black Friday deals and sales people eager to help. It was like there were so many deals to go through with so little time such as, “an extra 30% off or door buster deals.” This Macy’s location is so easy to get lost in on a normal day, but yesterday it seemed especially a maze.
See above: Black Friday Preview sale at Macy’s in Herald Square, NYC
Every year in NYC around the holidays, big chain department stores such as Barney’s, Saks 5th Avenue, and Macy’s have holiday windows with a specific theme. Holiday windows have become a staple in New York City. People from all around the globe come to visit the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and these windows. This year’s holiday display is titled “Believe in Wonder,” which combines the traditional elements of past years windows with the present technological advancements. In fact, Macy’s was the first department store to ever display holiday windows in 1874.
They recently unveiled this year’s holiday windows on November 21st and my assistant perused through all the windows from 5th-7th avenue. She noticed in the fashion windows, that they used curvy mannequins and the use of color. The windows were aesthetically pleasing with a custom soundtrack to go with each one.
According to Roya Sullivan, “This year’s windows take us on a journey with our main character “Santa Girl.” Through her, we’re charmed by the power of magical thinking and we’re reminded that we all have Santa’s spirit in our hearts.” Holiday windows give everyone a sense of holiday cheer and a source for fashion inspiration.
See above: Holiday Windows for the 2019 season
Santa being at Macy’s is also a holiday tradition since 1862 that has branched out into other cities across the country. It also became a part of cinematic tradition in the Movie the Miracle on 34th Street. The history of having Santa at Macy’s started in 1862.
Since 1980 more than 200,000 guests have visited Santaland. Macy’s also donates a dollar for every letter sent to Santa to the Make A Wish Foundation. Santaland officially starts on November 29th this year. The decorations have begun and the holiday season is officially underway.
I have enjoyed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade since I was a child and I highly enjoy this time of year spending time with my family. The windows at Macy’s also have served as a source of inspiration for me. I always tell my clients to procure inspiration and that inspiration is everywhere when creating a collection for their brand.
I also enjoy the consumer aspect of it. However, I would rather participate in Cyber Monday than the overcrowding of Black Friday. It is nice to shop from the comfort of my own home and still obtain deals. I think retailers can benefit from selling their items at this time of year.
Holiday time in Manhattan is a site to behold. The city is decorated for Christmas and the retail stores’ months of planning are finally put into action. This is a busy time of year for retailers and consumers. Macy’s posed an interesting feat this year marketing for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time, but still keeping a holiday flow in place. Keep this in mind for your future holiday collections to gain traction for your brand to have a profitable holiday season.