I grew up believing that Macy's was the best! After all, it had the only Thanksgiving parade worth watching. (It was the only one network television showed!) They had fabulous balloons and the Rockettes.
Macy's was the store with a heart and the true spirit of Christmas.
On my very first trip to the city, as a young adult, I made a special point of going to Macy's and purchasing important items there. After all, it was the miracle store and a landmark.
I had innocently kept this view of Macy's well into adulthood.
In Boston we had our own landmark store, Jordan Marsh, which was actually older than Macy's.
Every year my grandmother would dress me in my best party dress. We would get on the bus in front of our house and go to Newton Corner, transfer to a trolley that would take us to Kenmore Square, go below the surface to the subway, and take the subway to downtown Boston. I shivered in delight at the thought of going into the city to see Santa Claus. It was a major undertaking for an elderly woman and a shy little girl.
Jordan Marsh also had a Christmas tradition which began in the 1940s. It was an Enchanted Village. It occupied an entire floor and people would come from all over to stand in line to see the village and end their pilgrimage with a visit with Santa and a photo. Then they would shop. You couldn't go to Jordan Marsh and not shop, and then end the day in their bakery with a fabulous blueberry muffin and a hot chocolate!
The Enchanted Village was an incredible draw, until for some reason, Jordan Marsh did away with it in the 1970s.
It was revived again in the 1990s and masses of people once again stood in long lines to view the Village and to purchase gifts they could just have easily obtained at their local mall.
Then in 1998 the dastardly Macy's took over the iconic Jordan Marsh and said, "There will be no more Enchanted Village, we want to use the space for offices."
People were devastated. Why would the legendary purveyors of Christmas, the store that was made famous by the best of all Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street, why would they want to destroy a Boston Christmas tradition.
What would they do next? Replace Santa in the parade with a robot?
I may be too sensitive, but I have not been able to watch the parade nor the movie since.
After the demise of the Village in the department store, it was moved to City Hall Plaza and the city sponsored it until they decided it was something they could no longer handle and sold the Village at auction on June 16, 2009. At that time it was bought by Jordan's Furniture (no relations to Jordan Marsh - it is a unit of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and still operated with one of the original owners guiding the business) and moved to their Avon store.
Now when I go to visit the Village and see Santa I am tempted to buy a new desk or living room suite instead of a porcelain doll or a cashmere sweater.
It may be unreasonable, but I still blame Macy's for killing a local tradition. They could have found another space for their offices!
What holiday traditions in your area have been destroyed in the name of profit?