Get Lost in the Holidays with Macy’s

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For this year’s holiday season, Macy’s unveils their legendary Christmas windows entitled, “Believe.” The holiday windows not only celebrate the spirit of the season but also pay tribute to the nine years of Macy’s “Believe” campaign – a letter writing campaign that raises funds for Make-A-Wish®. Make-A-Wish® is a national organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. 

The six Broadway window displays were created by Roya Sullivan, award-winning designer and Macy’s National Director of Window Presentation. Roya shared with MiND her favorite holiday memories as well as the inspiration and magic behind her holiday window displays.

According to Sullivan, “In creating this year’s windows, we wanted to focus on the idea of what Christmas meant to us as children. In thinking back to those feelings, we kept returning to the idea of six key qualities that truly exemplify the spirit and magic of the season. To build upon that, through the years we have noticed how much kids of all ages enjoy interacting with the windows so we have again, incorporated interactive elements with the goal of continuing to create experiences that allow our audience to play and be part of the action.”

Macy’s Christmas Windows

Tell us about your favorite Holiday window display. 

ROYA SULLIVAN: My favorite holiday window display is Santa’s Journey to Stars: a little boy, Alex, fantasizes of travelling through space. Visiting planets with Santa. Landing on Earth at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

My other favorite was last year’s gift window on 34th street, a lush green forest with all kinds of surprises in the winter scene.


Tell us what is required to create the perfect department store holiday window. 

ROYA SULLIVAN: My goal is to create a window experience that is both visually intriguing and has a clear point of view. After determining a theme, the focus then becomes fabrication…which is the most challenging portion of the process. Trying to transform thoughts and emotions into actual 3D characters with animation is no easy task. I continuously place myself in the audience’s shoes in order to make sure the details are well defined and the storyline is clearly conveyed and that our customers are going to be wowed by the experience! And naturally smile!


Where do you find the inspiration for your ideas?

ROYA SULLIVAN: I really like the creative and theatrical process of searching for a magical experience that can translate to 3D form and be displayed in the world famous Broadway windows of Macy’s Herald Square. The research happens all year… even while we are installing the current windows. Mostly I try and place myself back in time, looking for my inner child and what Christmas meant to me; the feeling or emotion includes family, Santa and a bit of magical thinking.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions from recipes to family moments etc. 

ROYA SULLIVAN: The best part of the Holiday season for me, as a child, was Christmas Eve. Having a German mother, our tradition was to gather for a feast early evening and then after dinner, open our gifts. As my friends would wait desperately for their gifts to arrive Christmas morning , my mother kept her family’s tradition by allowing us to open our gifts. When our friends would ask her why does Santa come early to your house, she would say “our Santa comes from Germany and he is on German time!”

My kids wanted to implement the same rule once I started to host Christmas, but my mischievous husband would not have it as he enjoyed watching them look out the window all night!


Tell us about your favorite holiday destination and why. This could be anything from a Christmas market to where you choose to spend the vacation. 

ROYA SULLIVAN: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a gorgeous tree that I like to visit. It is filled with porcelain angels adorned in luxe fabrics hovering over a magnificent Neapolitan creche with hundreds of figures. Gorgeous!

Love having drinks with friends and family at Rolfs Bar (281 3rd ave) – the Christmas decorations are beautiful, and both the spiked eggnog (with a cinnamon stick) and mulled wine are delicious.