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Marshall Field's Christmas Windows

For over a century, Marshall Field's has been delighting children at Christmas time. The Walnut Room tree, the main aisle decorations, and visits to Santa have enthralled generations, but the biggest attraction of all is the Christmas windows. These fantasies behind glass have been a huge marketing success for the company, but they have come to mean much more to the people of Chicago.

Toy SoldiersThe holiday windows trace their history back to the early days of Marshall Field's. The store was founded in 1852 as a dry goods business, but as it grew, the company diversified and became one of the first of a new breed called, department stores. A few years later in 1897, Field's new display manager, Arthur Fraiser, pioneered window design. His Christmas toy windows were especially enthralling.

These windows continued through World War II. During the war a new idea struck the visual team at Field's – a plan that would make Marshall Field's as unforgettable as Santa Claus himself. They designed theme windows that span the length of State Street. As you walked from one end to the other, the windows told a story.

Uncle MistletoeIn 1946 Marshall Field's introduced Uncle Mistletoe to compete with Montgomery Ward's creation, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The popularity of Uncle Mistletoe soared, and was soon turned into a tri-weekly television program entitled "The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe," which lasted for four seasons. You can still see him on the top of "The Great Tree" in the Walnut Room.

The window strategy all along has been to "Give the kids what they want", and keep people coming to the store. The year 2000 displays, featuring famous wizard Harry Potter, are likely to be as popular as ever. The Marshall Field's Christmas windows have reflected change over the past hundred years, but have still found a way to keep Chicagoans entranced.

Marshall Field's Christmas Windows

For over a century, Marshall Field's has been delighting children at Christmas time. The Walnut Room tree, the main aisle decorations, and visits to Santa have enthralled generations, but the biggest attraction of all is the Christmas windows. These fantasies behind glass have been a huge marketing success for the company, but they have come to mean much more to the people of Chicago.

Toy SoldiersThe holiday windows trace their history back to the early days of Marshall Field's. The store was founded in 1852 as a dry goods business, but as it grew, the company diversified and became one of the first of a new breed called, department stores. A few years later in 1897, Field's new display manager, Arthur Fraiser, pioneered window design. His Christmas toy windows were especially enthralling.

These windows continued through World War II. During the war a new idea struck the visual team at Field's – a plan that would make Marshall Field's as unforgettable as Santa Claus himself. They designed theme windows that span the length of State Street. As you walked from one end to the other, the windows told a story.

Uncle MistletoeIn 1946 Marshall Field's introduced Uncle Mistletoe to compete with Montgomery Ward's creation, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The popularity of Uncle Mistletoe soared, and was soon turned into a tri-weekly television program entitled "The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe," which lasted for four seasons. You can still see him on the top of "The Great Tree" in the Walnut Room.

The window strategy all along has been to "Give the kids what they want", and keep people coming to the store. The year 2000 displays, featuring famous wizard Harry Potter, are likely to be as popular as ever. The Marshall Field's Christmas windows have reflected change over the past hundred years, but have still found a way to keep Chicagoans entranced.

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