Archive for 2012/12/20

Window Shopping in the Big Apple!

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks                                                                       dressed in holiday style,                                                                                     In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…

Dear Friends,

My dream trip to New York City at Christmastime finally came true just a few weeks ago.  It was on my bucket list for years, as long as I can remember.   To visit during the holiday season and see the lighting of the colossal tree at Rockefeller Centre that symbolizes for many, including me, the arrival of the holiday season was something magical.  I will never forget it.

What a joy to experience the life of that city in the short weeks leading up to Christmas.  The 85th annual performance of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Broadway shows. Salvation Army bell ringing, singing and dancing on nearly every street corner.  A harbour cruise past the Statue of Liberty. Museums. Celebrity spotting. Friendly NYPD. A ride through Central Park.  The American Girl Store experience.     F. A. O. Schwartz. Santa and ‘Eloise’ at The Plaza.  Macy’s Holiday Lane.  The outdoor holiday Christmas markets, apple cider and skaters at Bryant Park.  Dazzling Times Square.  The Chocolatiers! Vendors selling roasted chestnuts.  Lighting candles at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Empire State Building. Fabulous restaurants.  Choirs.  Window shopping…The sizzling sights, sounds and experiences are thrilling and infinite.

Most of all, I enjoyed the spectacular store window displays.  It was I had been yearning to see, and at no other time of year would do it for me.  Our visit had to be leading up to Christmas.  The department store window displays are a famous New York Christmas tradition, and you don’t have to spend a cent to enjoy it! Barneys. Bergdorf Goodman.  Bloomingdales.  Lord and Taylor. Saks Fifth Avenue…I took hundreds and hundreds of photos.

The windows at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store located on 5th Avenue/ 58th Street south of Central Park in Midtown Manhattan, are probably among the most sophisticated and beautiful of all the high-style window displays in New York City. Dripping with glamour and brilliance.  I strolled by several times  to drink it all in, taking photos during the day and again at night.  The nightime shots are the most special.  This season’s windows are called “BG Follies 2012” inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville and Hollywood musicals of the 1930’s.  These surely must be among the most dazzling, captivating store windows on the planet!

I have always loved store window gazing at Christmastime. Won’t you come window shopping at Bergdorfs with me this year? We can spend hours just outside the store immersed in the fantasy and creative wonder of it all! And, when finally we are able to tear ourselves away and go inside the store, remember to look up…

Bergdoff Goodman NYC P1040381 P1040382 P1040383 P1040388 P1040389 P1040391 P1040392 P1040393 P1040394 P1040395 P1040396 P1040397 P1040399 P1040400 P1040402 P1040403 P1040404 P1040405 P1040406 P1040407 P1040408 P1040409 P1040410 P1040411 P1040412 P1040413 P1040414 P1040415 P1040416 P1040417 P1040418 P1040419 P1040420 P1040422 P1040423 P1040424 P1040425 P1040426 P1040427 P1040428 P1040429 P1040430 P1040431 P1040432

I am happy to be re-sharing this post at “Oh, The Places I’ve Been!”

It’s Christmas, naturally!

A freshly made "pineapple fan" above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  The crown will last for several weeks.

A freshly made “pineapple fan” above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The crown will last for several weeks. Photo: December 2013

Dear Friends,

As you are busying about with all your holiday preparations, I thought I would share a little inspiration with you…My husband and I recently returned from a long-awaited vacation to historic Williamsburg, Virginia, a restored 18th-century colonial capital of 300 plus acres.

It had been 25 years since we were last there, and the thing I remembered most about the place was the abundance of natural and imaginative decorations on doors and door crowns, windows and windowsills, lanterns, mantels and tabletops, just about everywhere throughout the town, all masterfully designed from fresh elements.

I was not disappointed on this trip.  Winter foliage finery at its very best still graces the historic town’s exhibition buildings, restaurants, shops, offices and private homes and have inspired people for centuries, especially at Christmastime.

Evergreens, a symbol of eternal life, were remarkably commonly used by the resourceful citizens of 18th century Williamsburg to decorate their homes at the bleakest time of year.

Today, the area draws admirers from around the world.  It takes days and days and days and the talents of an entire design crew, in addition to a legion of private homeowners, to make the magic happen at Colonial Williamsburg.

P1040985Truckloads of evergreens of every variety imaginable, cases upon cases of fruits and vegetables, nuts, berries, wheat, grapevines, twigs, seed pods, pinecones and dried flowers are used on everything from sprays and wreaths to garlands and centerpieces. Musical instruments, carved wooden ornaments, iron elements, balls of cotton, wool, flannel and felt are often incorporated in the designs – even leather shoes and soup tureens are used in their outstanding creations!  

P1050006Decorations go up in time to celebrate Thanksgiving and remain throughout the holidays until Old Christmas Day on January 6th.  A team of dedicated employees are responsible for freshening up any that might need it.  Where fruits are inserted on florist picks, it makes them easy to remove and replace with new.

Actors dressed in period costume and carollers stroll the pretty streets. The sound of fifes and drums, interesting outdoor markets, hot cider aplenty, the lighting of hundreds of candles in windows at dusk, fireworks and flaming cressets (fire baskets that are hand forged by community artisans are hung on tall posts, filled with kindling and lit) along streets and walkways all lend to the fascination of the annual “Grand Illumination” of the town held annually the first weekend in December.  It is just oh-so-pretty at night, like a beautiful dream…We LOVED it!

Every year since our first visit to Williamsburg 25 years ago, my husband and I have been making a door crown in the traditional Williamsburg style to hang over the front door of our own home. It is fashioned primarily from a fresh pineapple (the symbol of welcome), apples and cedar. A few pinecones or nuts are sometimes incorporated depending on what I happen to have on hand. Citrus fruits can be used, too, but I am partial to the gloss of the Red Delicious apples once Big Elf (a.k.a. husband) polishes them with a soft cloth until they’re gleaming. I make the ‘Pineapple Fan’; Big Elf hangs it. That’s the deal. But he always insists on polishing the apples first! It has become a Christmas tradition for us.  Our long-awaited return visit to Williamsburg was the icing on the cake, rekindling the spirit in which our tradition first began.

The photo below was taken in December 2011.  We’ve had a lot of snow in the past week, I’ve been down with the flu and we haven’t managed to hang the door crown yet, but this weekend it will go up at long last.  Hey, how did that dent in the door get there!

I’m excited to be sharing this archived post today on Oh The Places I’ve Been!


I am dedicating this post to my dear friend Carolyn Aiken whose home is Prince Edward Island and who I know would love Williamsburg, too. With every snap of the camera, I thought of her. I gathered a small sampler of photos of the multitude of Williamsburg wreaths and swags to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them and that you’ll be inspired to personalize your own welcome wreath for the holidays.  Do you have a favourite?

Thank you for dropping by to visit at such a busy time.  I hope you are able to wrap up your To-Do list soon.

Wishing you a beautiful day,


NOTE:  If, after you’ve finished browsing the photos of Williamsburg below, you’d like to see some 2013 photos of our front door decorating, click here “Beautiful Christmas Green.  These photos were taken on The Duke of Gloucester Street., the town’s main road.
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