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Department Store Windows Were Downtown's Christmas Draw

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, at 12:13PM
1951 Christmas Displays Los Angeles Examiner / 11-21-1951

Shoppers check out Christmas window displays in Downtown's department store windows on November 21, 1951.



In the heyday of Los Angeles' department store history, shoppers would descend on Downtown each holiday season to gaze at intricate displays set up in the windows of stores such as May Company, Bullocks and Robinsons. The displays were "Downtown's unique Christmas attraction," according to the Downtown Business Men's Association (the group that would later become the Central City Association).

Today, of course, the stores are gone, both in name and from the massive buildings they used to occupy. All three of the above department stores eventually became part of Macy's, which now has just the store inside Macy's Plaza Downtown.

In 1951, though, the stores were still at their peak and extravagant displays were all unveiled on November 21, officially starting the Christmas season.

There was only one problem. With so many displays, Santa Claus was everywhere. That created some confusion for one little boy that the L.A. Times quoted in the following day's paper.

"But, mommie, we just saw him up the street and he was sowing up that great big sock, bigger than Santa himself. And then we saw him again and he was getting a haircut, ready to go out. And then we saw him flying in the air like a helicopter. And then we saw the reindeer and him sailing over the houses. And now here he is and he's already come down the chimney."

"Mommie," he said, "he's everywhere we go."

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