Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yes, Virginia ...Believe!

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.

The animated sets at Macy’s are made entirely of paper! For 35 weeks (including 3,500 hours of design time) a small army of artists, carpentiers, engineers, and animation experts worked to bring the windows to life. More than 1700 sheets of paper in 100 different colors and 25 gallons of glue were used by fourteen paper artists in over 7,000 hours of work to make every magical detail in the windows!

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!

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eileeninmd said...

Wonderful post and photos. Macy's is great to donate to such a wonderful foundation. I'm sure they will make a lot of children very happy.

Donnie said...

I just love your photos. You could do a coffee table book of New York. I remember going to Macy's to see the windows as a child. Fabulous. Stay safe and warm.

Michelle said...

I agree with Donnie, you could do a coffee table book of New York. Your pictures and information is just so incredible. Always a joy to read.

Vee said...

You always have the most amazing posts and that takes special effort. I'm so grateful for your energy levels! Yours and your hubby's as I know he is a great help. Thank you for taking us where we all can not go...right to Macy's windows. How magical! (I'm so glad that they met their goal to raise a million dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A very worthy cause.)

Claudia said...

The best Christmas story ever. Teary-eyed and smiling. Yay for Macys. I worked in the Toy Department one Christmas season... many stories.

Carol said...

You certainly do bring New York to life for us! You really should do a book, Pat! Your photo's and words are amazing, I live here and see more things through you than I did on all my trips in :)

Macy's always does awesome things!

La said...

You live in such a magical city, Pat. I look forward to my visits to your blog. La

mrs. c said...

Thank you so much for sharing one more magical part of NYC! Your photos truly tell the story and are lovely. Hope that the bad weather has not hindered you during this holiday season!

GailO said...

Wonderful photos! Wonderful post Pat! If I can't get to see this myself this is the next best thing:)

RNSANE said...

What a happy Christmas post this was, Pat. I did not get out to one single department store this year so, other than the visit to my son and his in laws in Sacramento, I saw little Christmas decoration. Your post really brought the season home for me!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Fabulous pictures, Pat.... I just kept thinking that I'm glad you got to see all of that beauty before the blizzard hit. Thanks SO much for sharing... It is just magical!

Sheila said...

Ever since i saw a wonderful show on the design process involved in creating the fantastic windows for the New York Windows I've been intrigued. I appreciate the close up view you have given us. It's almost like standing there watching the magical scenes. Thanks Pat!

Linda said...

Another wonderful post...you could publish a book of your photos and stories about New York...my sister and niece will be there in 2 weeks and I told her to read all your posts to find out about NYC from the best!
Happy New Year!

Gypsea Nurse said...

ok.. you got a much better shot than I did of that!

dianasfaria.com said...

that is some display eh Pat?
thanks for the beautiful coverage of Macy's windows!

Ginny Hartzler said...

Truly amazing, I've never seen anyhting like it, and all paper!! And I love the shot of the pretty lights all over the front of the store. No wonder I've been wanting to shop more than usual! It's so great to be able to see these New York deorations. Can't wait till tomorrow!

Jo said...

Pat those are gorgeous photos! you really know how to shoot and showcase any place you visit ... and this little post is no exception ... thanks for sharing!!!

Willow said...

Lovely photos of an amazing place! As a child, I would go to Portland's downtown and walk around and see the dept store windows. I loved them, but I know they were nothing like the displays in NYC.

I'm amazed at the amount of snow you've had. Amazing pictures in your last post!

Happy New Year!

Buttercup said...

Hope you're dug out. I live in Manhattan and work in Queens and even in Manhattan it was tough going. I can now cross the street -- some streets -- but can't figure out when I'll get to a bus stop in the next few months.
Love to find another New York blogger and your blog is beautiful! I used the "Believe" picture a couple of weeks ago and now it's my screen saver at work. Please come and visit often!

Light and Voices said...

Wonderful Christmas post. Happy New Year!
Joyce M

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Hi Pat, Thank you for letting us a chance to enjoy the tour as well. Wow I still cannot believe the amount paper used and hours dedication to make it. Happy Holidays.

Gracie said...

WOW Pat that's really impressive! Can't even imagine what it's like to see it in person! Thanks for sharing photos and infos, as always.

Old Kitty said...

Could you imagine such an editorial let alone a response to a child's beautiful letter in this day and age?!!? I really really love this story - and the Mr Church's wonderfully thoughtful words!! Brilliant!!!

And thank you Macy's for such a programme!! How fantastic of them to have such a scheme!! Awww I always think Christmas is truly for the children and the young at heart!!

Thanks for the fabulous clip of the Virginia story (set in a library!! Yay!!). My mum's name is Virginia - thought I'd just mention that!

Take care

Cindy said...

What an amazing post! I love it! I have never seen the movie or ever heard the story, so I am fascinated by all of it! Thanks for letting me see it. I am looking forward to seeing what you have for us on Friday.
Macy's is still one very amazing store!
Hugs, Cindy

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Gorgeous windows! Looks like these must have been taken BS (before snow) ;)

Brenda said...

Lovely post, lovely photos, as always, Pat! Thanks again for sharing New York with us.

nanny said...

It's so much fun to have an expert travel guide as a friend.....
Are you just snowed in? Looked pretty rough on GMA this morning...I'll bet you are getting some great shots of the snow!
Stay Warm

Pondside said...

You will, single-handedly, increase next December's tourist traffic to NYC!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I agree with the others Pat - you are a fabulous travel guide and Major Bloomberg should hire you as a promoter.

Macy's is so wonderful to do this for the children. Their windows are amazing.
Stay warm up there in the cold north.

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, thank you so much for your Christmas greetings on my post and Facebook. We did have a wonderful Christmas with our daughters in Jax. I hope you and your family had a great Christmas too.

Your post today is just wonderful Pat. I love the paper art, it is fabulous. More fabulous is the lovely story that goes with the beautiful windows. Thank you for all the time and effort it took to share this with us. New York is magical at Christmas starting with the Thanksgiving Day Macy's parade.

We arrived home last night and walked 200 feet up to our house. We couldn't make it up our driveway. The car is at the bottom of our property. Today we shoveled a ton of snow and finally got our car up and into our garage. Believe me we do not get that much snow here very often.

I look forward to your next post with great anticipation.
Warm hugs, Jeanne

Catherine said...

This is one of my favorite posts! Excellent pictures. Happy New Year Pat!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. Hope you had a good Christmas Pat. Happy New Year to you!

Best wishes,


Elettra said...

I wish you 12 months of happiness, serenity 52 weekend, 365 days of love, 8760 hours of peace 525600 minutes of success, 31536000 seconds of friendship

Tracy said...

WOW... so SPLENDID! I love the grands lengths NYC goes to to celebrate the holidays! Hope you are keeping warm & safe there. I expect you are tired of winter already. ;O) We certainly are over here... We're just back from my birthday lunch out and fun shopping (got a new yoga mat--bright purple! ;o). The plan is an easy Indian take-away tonight. It has been terribly cold out for weeks now, today no exception--so the little we were out today was enough...LOL! Hope you & V have a WONDERFUL ringing in of the New Year. May 2011 bring you all much PEACE, LOVE & JOY!! ((HUGS))

Herald Towers said...

Macy's in Herald Square is always done up so nicely for the holidays. The snowfall following Christmas also made for a great addition to the beautiful decorations.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I agree with your other readers that you could do a coffee table book - or a travel book on New York. You're the best. Hurray for Macy's.

Annesphamily said...

This is truly what the Spirit of Christmas is all about. This is a wonderful project and I appreciate you sharing it with us. Anne

From the Kitchen said...

I have to say that your Macy's did a lot better than our Macy's in Chicago. Same theme but not nearly as much animation. In fact, I was disappointed.

I hope all of your snow has found a place to go.

Happy new year.


Blooming Rose Musings said...

Again, your photos and writings are superb! I had my picture taken with Santa at Macy's when I was 4 years old. It really is magical at Christmas. I hope the snow storm has not been a burden for you. You were in my thoughts but I was on location and couldn't email. Hope all is well.