Holidays on Display

William L. Bird, Jr.

     7.75 × 8.75 in (19.7 × 22.2 cm)
Paperback
160 pages
150 color illustrations, 75 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 10/1/2007
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568986951


For millions of people the world over, the annual visit to a department store to view the festive window displays and visit Santa in his winter wonderland is a treasured holiday tradition. In America, the Thanksgiving holiday is almost inconceivable with-out Macy's annual parade. But how did holiday traditions like this begin? Who are the behind-the-scenes magicians that conjure up this unique blend of imagination, showmanship, and salesmanship?

Holidays on Display is a comprehensive overview of the art and industry of the holiday display. Author William L. Bird, Jr., traces its evolution as holiday decorations moved from shop windows to building exteriors and out into the street in the form of parade floats. In this fascinating and colorful history we are introduced to turn-of-the-century "trimmers" hired by merchants to maintain product displays, and we marvel as advances in lighting, animation, and miniaturization lead to the incredible feats of creative self-expression practiced by today's window artists. Packed with rarely seen photographs and ephemera, Holidays on Display makes it easy to see why we have such lasting emotional attachments to animated Christmas windows, passing parades, and the ambient glow of holiday lights.


William L. Bird Jr, is a historian and curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. He is author of Paint By Number, (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001).


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