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November 29, 2016

Vintage Photos of People Mesmerized by Store Windows Stocked With Christmas Goodies in NYC From the 1900s

Each year department stores unveil their holiday window displays to admiring crowds. Festive windows have been a tradition in New York City since the 1870s; R.H. Macy, of the retailer Macy’s, is largely credited with having created one of the first Christmas window displays in 1874.

In recent years, gazing into store windows has become almost as much a tradition as the actual buying of gifts, which of course, is the ultimate goal of the windows–to get shoppers in the door. Today, an estimated 15,000 people pass by the store’s elaborate windows every hour during the season.

Today we look back to a time before online shopping, when browsing was done through a pane of glass. Delight in these vintage photos of people mesmerized by holiday windows from between the 1900s and 1910s.

Shoppers gather around a window, 1900.

Christmas shoppers, window shopping, New York, 1900.

Boy looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900.

Children looking at Xmas toys in shop window, 1900.

Christmas toys on display, 1910.

Captivated by Christmas toys, 1910.

(Images: Library of Congress, via Atlas Obscura)


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