Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season is clear for takeoff at Macy’s Herald Square with the unveiling of its 2014 Christmas windows. Titled “Santa’s Journey to the Stars,” this year’s seasonal spectacular traces the adventures of Alex, a young boy who receives a magical and mystical telescope that enables him to experience the wonder of Christmas on other planets before landing back on Earth at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Accompanied by his dog Bella and escorted through the galaxy by none other than the one-and-only Santa Claus, Alex’s otherworldly voyage will amaze and enchant children of all ages as they too embark on their very own out-of-this-world adventure. The 2014 Christmas windows at Macy’s Herald Square will be on display through December 26. It is estimated that during peak hours over 10,000 people per hour will pass by the windows.
Macy’s Herald Square Unveils its 2014 Christmas Window Spectacular–“Santa’s Journey to the Stars.” John Minchillo/AP Images for Macy’s Inc. (PRNewsFoto/Macy’s)
Created by Roya Sullivan, award-winning designer and Macy’s National Director of Window Presentation, Macy’s 2014 Christmas windows combine the wonder of modern technology with stunning visual elements and a dose of nostalgia. Following a child’s imaginary journey through space, the six Broadway windows will showcase one-of-a-kind planet-scapes, countless custom designed toys, handmade elves and an interactive game, all accented by thousands of LED lights. Nearly 85% of the installation is foam, with sculptures carved and treated to resemble a wide variety of textures and effects, such as the surface of the moon, or the gleaming face of one of the celestial beings within. In addition, spectators will be able to watch the story unfold chapter-by-chapter in animated form with the assistance of high definition video monitors set within each window.
Below is a brief description of each window, along with the story that is told as visitors move from window to window on their journey:
Alex was an extraordinary boy, his telescope was no ordinary toy.
On the night he spotted Mercury he saw a sleigh and eight reindeer—then he and his dog Bella were soaring the skies! “Now you can join me among the stars
to see how other planets celebrate Christmas!”
They whizzed on past Mercury, which is a little bit quirky: hotter than an oven by day, colder than a freezer by night.
The story of “Santa’s Journey to the Stars” begins as our hero Alex is seen in his bedroom marveling at his favorite gift of all…a telescope from Santa. Suddenly, Santa himself appears and, quicker than a wink, Alex and his dog Bella are soaring through the skies on their extraterrestrial experience.
The second planet from the sun, Venus is also a second source of North Pole fun: On this home away from home, Santa’s elves run a spare workshop to assemble all the gifts that fill the rest of the galaxy’s kids’ wish lists.
The excitement of the journey builds inside this window when Santa, Alex and Bella land on Venus. Little do the people on Earth know that Santa uses Venus as a second workshop to build toys for all the good little children in the galaxy. Venus’ elves are hard at work in this window as the conveyer belt whizzes by filled to the brim with the fruits of their labor.
Because it’s the color of Santa’s jacket, Mars is called the Red Planet, and it has something that is very hard to hide: Olympus Mons is the highest mountain in our solar system, taller than any on Earth! When the holidays come, so too does the fun, and Martians decorate it to spread good cheer and mirth.
The next stop is Mars, otherwise known as the Red Planet, where our traveling trio takes a whimsical ride on a Mars rover, soaring high above the festivities below. The resident Martians have truly “painted the town red” in honor of the season and, as a salute to one of the greatest holiday traditions here on Earth, have incorporated balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade into their jubilee.
The two biggest planets have out-of-this world facets: Jupiter has a whopping 67 moons, each with its own tradition and well worth a visit. The folks on Saturn are speed demons and hold holiday races upon its rings.
After experiencing life on Mars, it is now off to Jupiter, the “Gas Giant,” and the largest planet in the solar system. Jupiter has 67 moons, more than any other planet and, during the holidays, each moon tries to outdo the other with their fanciful holiday celebrations. A quick jaunt to Saturn finds the locals engaging in friendly competition as they race around the planet’s rings.
Uranus and Neptune are known as the “Ice Giants” because they are the coldest of all. What’s even cooler is how their folks get festive at night
by throwing the galaxy’s biggest snowball fight.
The fun turns interactive inside our next window as Earthling onlookers are invited to play a seasonally inspired game which vividly lights up a miniature ice city. In the meantime, competition of a different sort occurs within the window as a snowball fight for the ages unfolds between our “Ice Giants,” Uranus and Neptune.
Alex and Bella now knew all about the jubilation of the other planets’ celebrations! They would not forget soon what they learned about holidays across the planets and moons, but Santa knew they were ready for their own Christmas on Earth.
It all comes together in the grand finale of “Santa’s Journey to the Stars” as Alex comes back down to Earth marveling at all he has experienced throughout his otherworldly adventure. Finding himself at the Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade, our hero feels a warm and familiar comfort at the sight of the balloons floating on the parade route and, as his friend Santa Claus arrives at last to signal the start of the holiday season, he realizes that, no matter the fun that was had in space, there will be nothing like his Christmas celebration here on Earth.
Macy’s was the first department store to feature Christmas window displays when RH Macy himself began the tradition of animated windows in 1899 at Macy’s original 14th street location and has been enchanting generations of spectators since. This year, spectators will view custom-made planets, handmade elves and custom toys, all highlighted by thousands of custom LED lights and each Christmas window display is a project nearly a year in the making as plans for the next year’s windows begin in January, almost immediately after the windows are taken down. It takes a dedicated team of over 250 of Santa’s helpers to bring the windows to life including Macy’s display artists, graphic artists, sculptural artists, animators, carpenters, electricians and music and sound experts, with the installation of the Christmas windows accomplished in 21 days and nights.
According to Sullivan, “This year’s Christmas windows will symbolize the power of magical thinking and the tradition of storytelling where we celebrate, not only children’s imagination, but our own inner-child. We have combined our homage to today’s tech-savvy child with a nostalgic dream to travel through space with Santa. This theme is brought to life by combining the technological and interactive elements with old school artistry forming a unique marriage resulting in something original and artistic.”