Much like seasonal Starbucks cups and all-peppermint-everything, the unveiling of holiday windows in New York are an unimpeachable, ultra-festive tradition. Never mind that, in most cases, the displays are totally unrelated to actual holiday shopping — the spectacle is about creating a festive, ultra-creative, limited-run art installation, basically. (And, of course, it's about the Instagram opportunity.)
Every year, we see legendary Manhattan luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman join department stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales in decking the windows with more fervor and artistry than any
tinsel display you could painstakingly arrange in your living room. There are custom designer gowns, you'll see commissioned art pieces, and even celebrity cameos — at least in the case of Barneys New York's 2016 display, which features appearances from Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, and more South Park
No two windows are the same, based on this year's showing on Fifth Avenue or when looking back at each retailer's past spectacles. This storied stretch of New York real estate has been facing some seriously costly damage
since the election. The timing of the 2016 holiday windows is fraught with much uncertainly, but these displays bring passersby a glimmer of optimism.
Ahead, check out the most impressive window displays retailers have been cooking up for the holiday season.