I hate Black Friday. I rue Cyber Monday. And my little Grinch heart grows blacker and blacker with each encroaching year of shameless holiday commercialism. Here I am in NYC on the biggest shopping weekend of the year and, while I momentarily stepped inside a store yesterday, I saw the mayhem before me and instantly retreated. Next time they ask, I will be honest:
“Yes. Penicillin. And Christmas shopping.”
I’ve become so jaded that I failed even to be impressed by Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday window tableaus. “Not as good as last year”, I sniffed. Didn’t even take photos, so I have to shamelessly borrow from @avb’s Instagram pics:
So when the CE suggested we walk down Fifth Avenue last night, I winced, I groaned, I pouted. He ignored me. “Get your coat on.”
We hardly needed our coats. The weather here has been splendid this week. (I’ll share the Thanksgiving pix later. And no, I have not forgotten about the Italy travelogue. We’ll be back to Tuscany before you know it.) It was almost 60 degrees last night and there was a collective joy in Midtown; Thanksgiving food comas had abated and it was a balmy evening in New York City, a perfect night for a walk.
Still, I clucked with withering disapproval. Gone is the glittering Cartier panther that always perched over the now-closed flagship store. Ferragamo’s lights twinkled nicely but could not quite pierce my steely anti-holiday resolve. I will admit that I did linger a bit to admire Harry Winston’s dressed-up facade, and Tiffany’s jeweled decor never fails to please.
We cut over to Rockefeller Center to look at this year’s tree, which stands guard over the ice rink. By Wednesday night it will be decorated and ready for its big moment at the tree-lighting ceremony. After Christmas, it will be cut and milled and donated to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. If that doesn’t soften a bitter heart, I don’t know what will.
I was ready to head back over to Midtown West, but the crowd carried us forward through Rockefeller Center, and suddenly, it seemed there was a host of heavenly beings, singing. Loudly! Really loudly! No, not “hosanna in the highest” because this, of course, is NYC, (or, as we know it, Secular Central) but a lovely, shimmering rendition of “Carol of the Bells”. And before us, the entire facade of Saks Fifth Avenue began to come alive with lights, ultimately revealing a frosty winter palace. A little bit Disney, a little bit Vegas, and a total crowd pleaser. Hundreds of people stood before it snapping photos and videos as the music washed over us.
My wizened little Grinch heart melted right then and there. Saks Fifth Avenue, that temple of commercialism, that mecca of merchandising, that store that puts the material in materialism, made me feel all tingly with holiday joy. It was a Christmas miracle!
It’s impossible to appreciate the scale of it from a photo, but you can enjoy it here on YouTube:
I felt positively merry as we walked home. Something about goodwill toward men, and, even, shopping. Maybe you’ll get a present this year after all!