Reporting Jason DeRusha
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For 49 years, the eighth floor auditorium of the flagship department store in downtown Minneapolis has been a Christmas wonderland. However, this will be the fourth year in the row of the exact same display: A Day in the Life of An Elf. So, why is Macy’s still repeating itself?
Many customers appear to share the opinion of Betsy Kroon: “They are CHEAP,” she said.
Macy’s is arguing that doing the same show every year is more of a tradition.
“Macy’s is delighted to provide our customers with the opportunity to visit Santa amidst one of the most magical, elaborate and unique holiday displays,” said Andrea Schwartz in a statement sent from her Macy’s public relations office in Chicago.
“That’s not right. They should change it,” said one customer outside Macy’s.
“Four years is too long for this elf,” said another.
In 1963, Dayton’s installed the first show in the eighth floor auditorium in Minneapolis, “Santa’s Enchanted Forest.” Since that time, more than 15 million have walked through, transfixed.
“My mom started with taking me sometime after 1965 and it continued when my niece and nephew was born. My mom thoroughly enjoyed taking her grandchildren to the display and watching them get excited to see what the NEW story would be,” said Pat Casey.
Over the years, Dayton’s had exhibits that include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pippi Longstocking, Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter.
Even after Marshall Field’s took over the store, there were still new displays every year, including Snow White, Mary Poppins and The Nutcracker.
In 2008, however, Macy’s debuted a storyline the company designed and owned called, “A Day in the Life of An Elf.” Now the company has shown no intention of changing that, instead calling it a “new tradition.”
“If you’re cynical, their saving money. They store it, pull it out, dust it off and, ‘What do you know? The animals are decorating the tree again!’” said Dennis Ryan, Chief Creative Officer at OLSON, an advertising and marketing agency.
“Or you could also say in the holidays, tradition is a big deal,” he added. “People like surprise. I like surprise, but, at the same point, there’s the comfort of the holidays.”
During the holidays, many people tend to watch the same Christmas movies, look at the same light displays and Macy’s is guessing that many will go look at the same eighth floor display.
Macy’s in Herald Square in New York City does the same Santaland and Miracle on 34th Street exhibit every year. But in Chicago, Macy’s does still change their Christmas window themes at the old Marshall Field’s.
“If you’ve got a 4-year-old and got a 6-year-old, you’re gonna want to take them to the auditorium and see it. Kids like it. I don’t think it’s gonna hurt them at all,” said Ryan.