We decorate our homes for the holiday season – "decking the halls" with garlands, Christmas trees and other fixings for the "most wonderful time of the year." This has a history that dates much further back than retail stores' history goes, but holiday displays for store windows has a history all its own.
According to Elle Decor, the art of dressing windows started in 1938 when Lord & Taylor chose to hang massive gilded bells in their store windows instead of merchandise. The bells rang in sync with the sound of recorded bells, and soon the whole trend of decorating windows for the holidays was in full swing.
Other stores followed suit throughout the 20th century, with each display seemingly getting more outrageous. In the 1950s, Washington, D.C.-based Woodward & Lothrop featured live penguins behind its windows, the news outlet reports. Today, visual merchandising has become much more widespread, but in no way has it lessened.
Visual merchandisers for stores large and small continue on this tradition all year round, but the holidays maintain their role as particularly special to show your clientele what you've got when it comes to getting creative and creating a display that is both special and effective.