Salt Lake City’s Famous Christmas Window Displays

Christmas Window DisplaysThere is nothing quite as magical as the Christmas season. The sights, sounds, and smells come together to create a feeling of festivity and cheer. A long-time favorite activity for families has been to go into the city and go downtown to enjoy the lights, shopping, and store windows.

Christmas window displays are remembered for years. They are magical, filled with a wonder and whimsy that stays in our hearts and minds for many seasons to come. While the culture of downtown shopping has changed, and Christmas windows are often not what they once were, the tradition does continue in spectacular fashion. Here are a few of our favorites.

The Grand America Hotel will display an intricately crafted gingerbread Victorian house, created by the executive pastry chef and his team. This piece is to be featured in the ballroom corridor. The hotel’s retail locations will have whimsical displays that the whole family can enjoy. The complimentary stroll through these window displays ends with a special surprise for the kids as they complete their journey. Dates: November 29 – December 31, 2013.

The Deseret Book Flagship Store is located downtown, just across the street from Temple Square. We haven’t heard anything about their plans for the 2013 window display, but the scenes they have produced for their “Mechanics of Christmas” display last two years have been spectacular. In 2011, we were treated to a multi-sensory gingerbread cookie factory. The animated display emitted sound and scent that took people through a Victorian-style gingerbread factory with several moving parts. Last year’s display contained a machine that produced wooden train cars that started as blocks of wood and ended as train cars full of salt water taffy. This new tradition is on we look forward to enjoying with our families for years to come.

ZCMI. This requires no explanation for people who have lived in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas for years. Even though ZCMI was bought out years ago, talking about Christmas window displays and neglecting to mention ZCMI would be heresy for those who enjoyed the displays for decades. While ZCMI’s Christmas windows were always iconic, the most beloved tradition started in 1972 when the department store would deck its windows in whimsical displays crafted entirely of candy. The windows were traditionally unveiled the Friday after Thanksgiving to coincide with the lighting at Temple Square.

Macy’s has brought back the tradition of the candy windows, following the demolition of the downtown ZCMI building and subsequent construction of City Creek Center. This year, six artists were chosen to each create an oversized holiday ornament crafted of candy. The artists are responsible for the creation and installation of their designs. It will be fun to see how designs from six artists, working in the same medium, will come together.

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