5 Festive, Stylish Holiday Displays

The recent news that Macy’s would close its doors in 2017 also means that this year’s holiday display would be its last. For those of us who grew up visiting the 8th floor holiday display at 700 Nicollet Mall, the holiday display evokes a potent wave of nostalgia. My fondest memories of the display were of the Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Puss and Boots, Cinderella, and The Wizard of Oz displays in the early ’90s—and getting my mom to buy me a decorated sugar cookie painted to that year’s theme in the gift shop afterward—though I continued the tradition of visiting the eighth floor for years to come. Dayton’s debuted the tradition in 1963 with “Santa’s Enchanted Forest,” and featured a new storyline and set every year. Putting together the display every year was a major production—for a dozen years beginning in 1989, famed Minneapolis costume designer Jack Edwards worked with chief designer Jack Barkla on the display’s designs. Though the display took on an abbreviated form as “A Day in the Life of an Elf” when the store transitioned to Marshall Field’s (and later Macy’s) in 2001, today’s incarnation is still sure to bring fond memories back—especially knowing that this Saturday may be the last time you will be able to step foot inside the hallowed walls of the eighth floor auditorium. Runs through Dec. 24 during store hours; free; 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; visit macys.com for hours.

Other stylish holiday displays worth checking out this season:

Dressing Downton, Experience the Costumes & Collection: This abbreviated version of the fuller-scale Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times costume exhibition highlights 27 period costumes worn by the show’s actors spanning the series’ run. Showcased within a storefront at the Mall of America, the display provides a welcome escape from the chaos of the mall—or a fun excuse to take mom and grandma on a trip to the mall over the holidays. Read my full review of the display at mnmo.com. On view during regular mall hours through Jan. 31, 2017, Mall of America, 132 West Market, Bloomington. Purchase tickets at exhibitsdevelopment.com.

The 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Dress Exhibit: For this first-ever exhibition, Edina’s Galleria and stylist Grant Whittaker challenged a dozen Twin Cities fashion designers to create an original look inspired by the holidays. The festive results include knitwear by Danielle Everine, hand-dyed fabric by ACG’s Anna Chambers-Goldberg, and intricate corsetry work by Samantha Rei. On view during regular mal hours through Dec. 30, Pottery Barn atrium at Galleria, 952-925-4321, galleriaedina.com

Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light: Whether or not you’re of Nordic heritage, the historic Turnblad Mansion is always a sight to see during the holidays. The American Swedish Institute’s annual holiday display showcases Nordic holiday traditions and customs through decadent room designs and table settings created by groups from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway. While you’re there, be sure to check out the ASI Museum Store, which carries a wide range of handcrafted Scandinavian (and Scandinavian-inspired) gifts ranging from jewelry to ceramics. On view through Jan. 8, free with museum admission cost, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, 612-871-4907, asimn.org

A Victorian Christmas at the Ramsey House: Fans of Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, and Charles Dickens are sure to appreciate the Ramsey House’s annual holiday decor, which promises “the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas in 1875.” On view through Jan. 1, various dates and times, Alexander Ramsey House, 265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul. Purchase tickets at mnhs.org.