Macy's Herald Square -- the world's largest department store -- is located at 151 West 34th Street.
Every Christmas season, Macy’s launches the "Believe Campaign" by joining with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity that helps to grant the needs of kids with serious medical conditions. The Believe Campaign invited children to mail their letters - stamped and addressed to "Santa at the North Pole" -- in the Santa Mail letterboxes located in any Macy’s store during the Christmas season. Macy’s pledged to donate up to one million dollars to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, by giving $1 for each letter received. Macy's announced on December 24th that they again met their million dollar goal for this year! ( All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them once and then again when they reopen in a new window)
The Macy's Herald Square store was lit up at every angle, and all the ground floor windows had beautiful holiday displays. This year's store windows on the Broadway side were based on a "Yes, Virginia" theme. "Yes, Virginia " is the classic newspaper editorial from 1897, written by New York Sun editor Francis P. Church in response to a letter from Virginia O'Hanlon, an earnest 8-year-old who wanted to know if Santa Claus existed. Church's insightful, kind and timeless editorial words never fail to bring a tear to my eye. You can read the editorial on this link.
Broadway World describes each window:
Window 1 - top left
At the very top of her house, little Virginia and her pal Ollie delight in a magical book about Santa Claus. Perplexed, Virginia ponders the eternal question of children everywhere: is Santa real? As she plays upstairs,
downstairs her mama and papa drink coffee and read the paper. It's their turn to ponder - a newspaper headline! Can it be real? "If you see it in the Sun, it's so," says Papa, as he's said so often before.
Window 2 - top right
Virginia and her friends gather in a nearby courtyard. They admire her Santa book, happily recalling what Santa brought at Christmases past. "Grow up," sneers Charlotte, an older girl with a worldly air. "You can't prove he's real. Face it, Virginia. There is no Santa." The children's belief dwindles at these harsh words, but Virginia has something else in mind.
Window 3 - bottom two scenes
To the library the friends go for proof Santa exists. With the help of the kindly librarian, they discover that, whether called Father Christmas, Cinter Klas, Bellsnickle, Kris Kringle or just plain Chimney John, Santa is beloved the world over. And yet... still no proof. Poor Virginia! "But," asks the librarian, "if he doesn't exist, why do children everywhere believe in him?" Why indeed?
Window 4 --top two
Maybe Papa knows! His logic isn't convincing, but the newspaper on his desk reminds Virginia of his oft-repeated words: "If it's in The Sun, it's so." That's when Virginia writes the letter that's become nearly as famous as Santa. And she waits...and waits...for a response. Worried for her little girl, her mother says, "Believing in Santa isn't something you prove. It's something you do. When you're kind to others, that's all the proof you need." Virginia ponders. Could it be true?
Window 5- middle two
Still pondering, Virginia encounters a scraggly, shivering "Santa" collecting coins for charity. The poor soul gave away his coat to someone in need! Recalling her mother's words about being kind to others ("That makes Santa real. . ."), Virginia returns with a new, warm and cozy red overcoat.
Deeply touched, the grateful man tells Virginia, "Today, YOU'RE Santa Claus. Meanwhile at THE SUN, the editor contemplates little Virginia's letter. How to respond?
Window 6 --bottom two
Finally, the proof is printed in black and white, to be read all over! "Yes, Virginia," proclaims THE SUN. "There is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love, generosity and devotion exist." A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."
All is well and joyous in the world, and belief reaches higher and deeper and wider than ever before! But wait. Who is that portly, bearded gent in red, with a twinkle in his eye?
Can it be?
Yes, Virginia. . .
This is a video I took of the library scene, so that you can also see the way the windows are animated and have narration.
Come back Friday as I'll show you this year's fabulous Gingerbread exhibit and contest at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel. The theme for the gingerbread creations was "Movies made in New York City"
Linking this post to Outdoor Wednesday at Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer. Thanks Susan!