NK's Christmas windows
NK's Christmas windows in 2013
If you are visiting Stockholm during Advent then make sure you find time to look at NK's Christmas window displays. I think they are the best in the world!
When are they revealed?
NK will reveal their Christmas window displays for 2015 on Sunday 15th November at 11 am. Afterwards there will be people admiring them 24/7 right up until Christmas!
The full name for NK is Nordiska Kompaniet, but it is known to everyone in Stockholm simply as NK. The shop is easy to find on Hamngatan (Harbour Road), not far from the Kungsträdgården (The King's Garden).
NK was founded by Josef Sachs in 1902. In 1915 he opened the department store on its current site with the intention of making it Stockholm's "commerical and cultural theatre". His vision was well founded as it is now firmly established as the city's grandest department store.
So what's special about NK's Christmas windows?
I think NK consistently turn out the best window displays in the world, simply because their displays are firmly aimed at children and how Christmas is traditionally celebrated in Sweden.
Sure, other department stores around the world may have bigger and flashier displays, but they often seem more concerned with marketing, logos and product placements. NK's displays are simply about a good-old fashioned Swedish Christmas. And that's the way I like it.
The photograph above is a simple example: it is from a scene showing Jultomten (Swedish Santa Claus) taking a photograph of nissarna (the elves) before they set to work to make Christmas presents.
There are more examples below from the 2015 windows. (The text in italics is NK's English translation of the verse about each window.)
A picture 'fore the work begins
A picture 'fore the work begins,
Every elf looks up and grins
Lining up in perfect rows,
Despite the freezing chill they pose.
Requests are filling Santa's halls
Requests are filling Santa's halls.
Letters, emails, texts and calls
A million wish lists make a mess,
But elves are good at handling stress.
Santa's workshop is in full swing
Santa's workshop is in full swing,
The elves must finish everything!
They all pitch in and do their best,
'till Christmas Day there is no rest.
Now the gingerbread is baking
Now the gingerbread is baking,
What a treat the elves are making!
Butterscotch and toffee cooking,
Sneak a sweet, when no one's looking.
Elves rest where they can when all the work is done
The forest elves with much ado
Will make the perfect tree for you.
With tinsel, candy, orbs and light,
They trim it into pure delight.
Tomten needs to rest too
Tomten is the Swedish version of Santa Claus and so he always appears in a least one of the NK windows.
Aren't Galeries Lafayette's displays better?
Galeries Lafayette in Paris produce some attractive displays, but too often they are dominated by product placements. For instance, in 2014 their display included a Christmas tree being decorated with the letters of Burberry by a character wearing a Burberry scarf! Nice try Lafayette, but a win for NK!
Aren't Harrods' displays more glamorous?
In 2013 Harrods in London based their Christmas display around a British steam train, albeit a very glamorous train. Each 'carriage' showcased the store's fashion, accessories or homewares, the most expensive item being a Swarovski-covered £80,000 gown! That's just too much. Another win for NK!
Tech-savvy displays in New York
Macy's and Bloomingdales in New York in 2014 both tried to appeal to tech-savvy children. Macy's theme was "Santa's Journey to the Stars" with windows that depicted a young boy's magical Christmas experience when he is gifted a paranormal telescope from Santa Claus. He's taken into a mystical world with his dog, Bella, and later lands back on Earth at the Thanksgiving's Day Parade. I do like the emphasis on children, but I still prefer the emphasis on a traditional, less materialistic Christmas to be seen in NK's displays.
So top marks to NK! I hope they keep producing displays that focus on helping children learn about a traditional Christmas in Sweden.
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