As a child I remember going to London just to see the windows decorated with magical scenes for Christmas. The big department stores created whole scenes that stopped people in their tracks whilst children gazed and wondered. Later, Regent Street and Oxford Street put up lights attracting even more visitors.
Local shops at home would have chosen items from stock with a seasonal theme and dotted decorations and greenery around to draw the eye, making even cans of ham and fruit look festive. The shoe shop might have the slippers decked with holly (very painful) and the greengrocer would have had nuts, dates and pyramids of oranges with holly and mistletoe for sale. There were often competitions amongst local traders for the best decorated window, something that also happened for events such as Jubilee celebrations.
Looking around shops today the most colourful things are the Sale signs and windows are largely obscured by huge posters advertising offers. None of those tempting displays that encouraged people to browse and window shop even once the stores were closed.
I have struggled to find any really seasonal shop window displays this year to date. The ones used here are from recent years. The one above was in a department store in a city whilst the one below is from a nearby town. I’ll keep looking, but I feel this is a bit of Christmas cheer that is definitely a fading tradition.