9 Photos That Show What It Was Like to Shop at Macy’s During Christmas in the ’70s and ’80s

For many, Christmas gift shopping is a beloved tradition. As soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is served, U.S. shoppers turn their attention to their Christmas lists.

American department stores have long been at the center of the Christmas retail frenzy, and there’s one New York shopping institution that has remained a favorite: Macy’s in Herald Square — the world’s largest retail store.

Footwear News dug up some archival photos that show what it was like to shop at Macy’s during Christmas in the 1970s and ’80s. While Macy’s has certainly gotten plenty of cosmetic upgrades since then, much of the Christmas shopping cheer has remained the same.

In 1972, a photographer captured girls playing with dolls in the children’s department and a young boy meeting Santa in the store’s “Santaland.”

Macy's Christmas Shopping
Girls playing with Raggedy Ann dolls in the children’s department at Macy’s.
CREDIT: Nick Machalaba
A little boy meets Santa at Macy's.
A little boy meets Santa at Macy’s.
CREDIT: Nick Machalaba

Some shoppers were gathered in the jewelry department, while others checked out shirts and ties.

Macy's Christmas Shopping
Shoppers in the jewelry department at Macy’s.
CREDIT: Nick Machalaba

Macy’s was also the originator of Christmas display windows, which are now a tourist favorite among all of the New York department stores. This year, Macy’s tapped into Christmas nostalgia for its windows, which tell traditional holiday stories featuring elves, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and more. During peak hours, nearly 10,000 people pass by the windows.

Click through the gallery to see more Macy’s Christmas archive photos.

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