I am a lifelong New Yorker, originally from Queens, and during the winter holidays, the city is especially beautiful. My typical path takes me down Fifth Avenue, starting uptown at FAO Schwarz (59th Street) to see toy magic; Bergdorf Goodman (59th Street + Central Park South) to step into holiday fantasy, Tiffany (57th Street) to see the store’s bejeweled treasures; Saks Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center (50th Street) for classic holiday fare; Lord and Taylor (38th Street); and then westward toward Macy’s on West 34th Street and Herald Square—my final stop. Lord & Taylor’s windows are like dioramas; they appeal to all ages. Usually, they draw upon a retro theme, such as Christmas’ from the 18th or 19th century or so, but this year, they took inspiration from L&T Facebook fans who submitted their favorite Christmas memories—appropo for the digital age in which we live. I thought the final results worked well, and captured the charm that L&T holiday windows are known for. I’ve posted some photos below. Part of the fun was watching the facial expressions of both kids and adults huddled around as they took in the spectacle of it all. Macy’s had a decidedly more commercial flavor. The Smurfs were named the store’s official 2010 holiday mascot, all dolled up for the holiday season–all bundled in a fleece scarf and stocking cap. The Smurfs are making a comeback as I remember them from when I was a kid and parents like me are now sharing Smurfs with their own kids. The 34th Street and Broadway windows brought the popular children’s book,Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (author, Chris Plehal; illustrated by James Bernardin) to life. In case you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a synopsis: in 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote the New York Sun to ask a simple question: Is there a Santa Claus? The editor’s response was a stirring defense of hope, generosity, and the spirit of childhood. His essay has been reprinted countless times since, and the phrase “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” has become part of American Christmas lore. Here’s a link for more on the book: http://amzn.to/eO5UaI. I love these videos about the Yes, Virginia windows. They were beautifully executed; much of the display was handmade out of paper. This video tells the back story of Yes, Virginia, which is charming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u89mFIMa5ZQ.