It wouldn't be the holiday season without the many magical displays created by big-name department stores and specialty boutiques—many of which were not around when this tradition began. The art of window dressing has a long history, with the craft reaching its heyday in the mid-20th century. In 1938, daringly eschewed merchandise in their Christmas windows, instead displaying gilded bells that swung in sync to the sound of recorded chiming bells. When air-conditioning first became available, filled a copper tubing tree with Freon to frost its branches. During the 1950s Washington, D.C.'s Woodward & Lothrop featured live penguins behind its glass.
The Christmas windows of today are just as magical—if not more enchanting—as those of the past. With inspirations as varied as The Nutcracker ballet, the chefs of the , and the nonprofit organization , the holiday displays of 2010 bring innovation and creativity to new heights.