This just in – 2020 has left a bit of a mark on all of us.
Yet, as we strive toward the finish line of this year and prepare for another round of holidays that will differ from how we imagine them, it’s heartwarming to see people still brightening their corners of the world when cynics could say it might not be worth the effort. Even with safety guidelines limiting the rush of holiday crowds, cities around the world are still finding ways to roll out the lights and deck the halls. And whether we’re experiencing them through a car window, behind a mask or on our screen of choice, these festive displays designed to bring a smile might just be the greatest gifts of the season.
Read on for shining examples of how the holiday spirit endures. And while you’re feeling inspired, place those candle lights in your windows or pull that inflatable snowman out of the garage. Pass it on!
London and Paris are two cities known for celebrating the holidays with flair. This year, Galeries Lafayette is using its storefront to transport visitors on a magical journey in which a young girl encounters characters that spring to life from The Little Prince. Meanwhile, London’s department stores kept up their sparkling traditions with an emphasis on celebrating the holidays at home this year. We especially like Harvey Nichols’ neon “Bah Humbug” display. So very 2020!
Berlin’s iconic Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) features a display that whisks window shoppers away on an interplanetary joyride. We’re sensing a theme here. And in Madrid, the city actually increased its decorating budget over last year to brighten over 200 streets and squares, many of them with red and yellow lights that evoke the Spanish flag.
In the southern hemisphere, Sydney shoppers get to experience holiday displays in short sleeves and sundresses. This year’s theme at the David Jones flagship store? The adventures of Claris the Mouse, from the beloved children’s books by Australian author/illustrator Megan Hess. Japan has developed a reputation for its winter illuminations in public spaces throughout the country. Some have been understandably cancelled this season, but many have found a way to carry on.
Finally, closer to home, New York City’s retail giants faced the challenge of spreading holiday cheer without attracting massive crowds all at once. The response at Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Macy’s and others has been to tone down the event-like atmosphere and shift the focus to themes like “how we celebrate now” and showing appreciation for first responders. Not a bad message to close out the year, if you ask us.