Marshall Fields Walnut Room Tree, many years ago
This years’s Walnut Room Tree Macy’s 2021

Tomorrow begins the traditional Chicago, and the Chicago area, Holiday celebrations returning from their hibernations….first up the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival for its 30th Anniversary…did you know that Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago started the tradition of lighting the trees many years before when they first were discovered and the tiny lights brought to Chicago by Mr. Silvestri from Italy and shared with Saks Visual Display Director, Joe Kreis.

Can that be possible? Let’s take a brief look back even further to see where it all began. I was sitting in the office of the General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue, Hal Clyne, in a meeting with the Display Director (would now be called Visual Merchandising Director), Joe Kreis, discussing the upcoming Holiday season. At the time, and for many years, I managed the Holiday Boutique which housed the best of the best of the Store’s merchandise that I personally edited and styled for the shop. It started the day after Thanksgiving and went away on Christmas Eve. Joe was very excited about new information he had just received. He used a display company to buy props and have props made for the many windows we had on Michigan Avenue (the Store was then located on Michigan Avenue and Erie Street it moved to 700 North Michigan Avenue in 1990). The company was Silvestri. Joe and Mr. Silvestri were fast friends and Mr. Silvestri had told him about a discovery he had made while in Italy. Strings of tiny lights… At the time we had a lighted outline of a Christmas tree that went from the main floor to the fifth floor (the addition hadn’t been built). This tree was sold to Charles A. Stevens on State Street. What Joe wanted to do was festoon the elm trees in front of the Store with these lights….well the rest, as they say, is history, to say the least! Hal said go for it although he hesitated about the cost if memory serves me correctly, each tree was around $250, but it might have been less. The year, 1959!!!!

The Chicago Tree is brilliant in Millennium Park….

And there is SO much more….

Navy Pier 2021

Check Lincoln Park, Chicago Botanic Garden…etc…etc…etc…and then there is Christmas in Blue Island

And the return of RandolphStreet Market Holiday as a Popup for three December weekends….hurrah!

7 thoughts on “THE HOLIDAYS PART 1

  1. Sally November 20, 2021 / 4:51 am

    Nena, no matter what is happening in the world you always keep us in a happier world of beauty and nostalgia – love seeing these beautiful trees ❤️❤️❤️ and thank you for the plug for our little old Randolph Street Market, another old timer at this stage of the game, but mixing it up on the Mag Mile!! Love you La Nena 😘😘😘😘😘

    • nenasnotes November 20, 2021 / 1:55 pm

      I try….I don’t do negative posts…there is enough of that around!

  2. LA CONTESSA November 20, 2021 / 4:27 pm

    I was only in MARSHALL FIELD’s ONCE IN MY LIFE!But the tree reminds me of CITY OF PARIS in San Francisco……….which is now NEIMAN MARCUS!

    • nenasnotes November 20, 2021 / 4:39 pm

      I love nostalgia….Happy Holidays!

    • nenasnotes November 21, 2021 / 12:31 am

      Happy Holidays…..I love nostalgia and Chicago goes all out with lights….very, very special times!

  3. Judith McConnell November 20, 2021 / 8:52 pm

    Always came to view windows and have lunch at the Walnut Room as a child. Wondrous. Nena, we have a mutual friend, Denise Tomasello, and as I’ve read your posts have always wanted to ask how you came to work at Saks. Did you answer a want ad? Did you know someone who introduced you? Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion or did it just come about? I worked at I.Magnin’s for the GM. for a time and twice during Christmas at Marshall Field’s when I was really young. Anyway, have just been curious about how you started your career. The cookies look great. Have a great holiday season.

    • nenasnotes November 20, 2021 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks Judith, I did a post many years ago about my SFA story. No, to most of your questions….it was a spur of the moment day when I took the bus from Evanston downtown and got off at Michigan Avenue and Erie went to Personnel, now Human Resources, and applied for a job and was hired, I was still in high school. It as to be a summer job and became my 531/2 year life.
      The cookies are great and I wish you the best of Holidays. By the way how did you come upon my blog? And thank you for following…..🤗

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.