Many consider it the official kick-off to Chicago’s holiday season.
And with the flick of a switch, the 45-foot-tall Great Tree at Macy’s on State Street came to life Saturday in a festive ceremony in the store’s legendary Walnut Room restaurant.
This year marks the 111th tree-lighting ceremony at the store site as well as the 51st annual holiday animated window display celebration. On hand for all the fun and the launch of Macy’s annual “Believe” campaign were season 12 “America’s Got Talent” runner-up singer Angelica Hale (who performed Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas?”) and 8-year-old Make-A-Wish foundation wish recipient Ethan, who will have his wish granted at the end of the month. Hale had her own wish granted in 2013 by the organization.
The theme of this year’s Great Tree is an homage to Chicago landmarks, including the iconic Marshall Field’s clocks on the State Street store facade. More than 2,000 ornaments adorn the tree, which is suspended from the Walnut Room ceiling. It takes nearly 72 hours for a team of workers to assemble and decorate the tree each season. The theme of this year’s display windows is “Reasons to Believe,” a tribute to all things “holiday season.”
Shoppers can also visit with Santa Claus on the store’s fifth floor at Santaland (photo packages begin at $17.99) through Dec. 24 (hours vary) . The Great Tree and the windows will be on display through Jan. 3, 2019.
Here’s a look at this year’s windows display and the Great Tree: