A Sweet Story: A Macy’s Candy Window
The rocking duck is a wooden toy my husband’s parents had made for him when he was a toddler and we still have it; our grandchildren love rocking on it. The Raggedy Ann was my favorite doll when I was little, on her chest she had a heart that read “I love you.” My grandmother taught me to how read and spell I L-O-V-E Y-O-U with my doll. There is a puppy (who doesn’t love a Christmas puppy?) A teddy bear like the ones that used to stand guard at night in my little children’s rooms, a stick horse like the ones my sister-in-law and I made for our children, a beach ball similar to the one my children played with at a farewell picnic for my brother as he left for his military service, an elf hiding, a trombone for one of our sons who plays, an elephant my husband loved as a child (and a not-so-veiled political piece), a pretty dolly for my daughters and granddaughters and a football, my sons played. There are five stockings, I wanted to do seven to represent each of our children, but they didn’t fit, so we squeezed in five. One is red, white and blue to represent our soldier son and his military comrades, the others hold favorite Christmas treats. Tim’s birthday is St. Nicholas Eve, so Santa seemed like a good choice for Tim’s farewell.
Santa is holding the word “Merry,” a reference to my BFF Mary. (Side note: I was talking on the phone with Mary one time while visiting my grandchildren. My 3 year-old granddaughter Brynn, became excited and asked if she could talk so I handed her the phone. After we finished the call, she stood wide-eyed and exclaimed, “I talked to Jesus’ Mommy!”)
The deadline for submitting the application was in early August. A few weeks before, I received a phone call from The University of Utah, where I’m studying, offering me a scholarship if I would attend full time. I took it, registered for four classes, drove out to California to visit my children and grandchildren before school started and forgot about the Macy’s deadline.
But Macy’s didn’t forget about me. I got a call, scrambled to submit the drawings and went back to school. Weeks later I was notified that the corporate window manager in New York liked my design and wanted me to create the holiday window. Macy’s needs a Santa in the window, they said and my design was their favorite. I was honored and panicked.
Four upper division classes, my son leaving on a mission soon and now this. Wisdom dictated that I tell Macy’s no, but I really wanted to do this project. We prayed to know what to do. Newell felt if Tim helped it would be doable. Do you think an 18 year-old boy who is getting ready to leave home for two years would agree to help? I hoped he would, I thought we might have some valuable time together to visit and collaborate (and glue). Tim said yes, and I told Macy’s yes.
Paul, Macy’s corporate window manager, flew out from New York to meet with Chad, Tim and me. We discussed art elements; color, texture, scale, (see kids, it’s a good thing to go to college – you need an education even in art.) With Paul’s approval, Chad ordered the candy, probably 120 pounds (times six for all of the projects.)
Next I needed to figure out how to translate two 3 inch two- dimensional designs into a 38 1/2 square foot three-dimensional sculptured sphere. And have enough candy to cover it completely. My art classes hadn’t exactly prepared me for this exercise. And what if I didn’t order enough candy? This ornament was going to be displayed in downtown Salt Lake City. In Macy’s window. On Main Street. No pressure.
The fun began when I logged on to Candy.com’s website to select the “palette”. I was like a kid in a candy store with someone else’s (Macy’s) checkbook. Cherry chews, watermelon sours, jelly beans of all kinds and colors, even silver Jordan almonds were all there for the asking. I sketched the design onto the ball with a construction pencil and artist’s charcoal. I found that the difference between 2D and 3D meant areas that weren’t accounted for. I added the elephant to fill in the gap. Tim and I started sculpting the relief figures and attaching them to the ball.
Did I mention that I was also promoting my Halloween book with a 100 day countdown on my website for Halloween during all of this? And writing for FamilyShare, The Deseret News, Connie Sokol and other websites?
And having an interview with Kim Power Stilson on BYU Sirius 143 Radio on Halloween?
And serving in a ward Relief Society presidency? A girl needs friends at a time like this.
Then my daughter called to invite me to come to California to accompany her to the Oakland Temple to receive her endowment. She took first priority, everything else came to a screeching halt.
Back in Utah, the candy arrived, about six cases, plus a case of adhesives. We laid the bags of candy out like an artist’s paint palette, picked a spot on the ornament to start with, loaded the adhesive cartridges and went to work.
Then with the clock ticking away, we jumped back in to meet the deadline. Kevin and Gary, the visual managers from University and Cottonwood Macy’s; Wendy, the manager at City Creek, Matt, Nicole and the others were so gracious, helpful and wonderful, I felt like an art princess.The windows were painted, our names were added, the backdrops were set up and local television stations and newspapers began to cover the events. It may have been the fumes, but Tim and I agreed that the whole thing had been “surreal.”
Newell for putting up with all of this and gluing itty bitty little things to a large sphere. And not being a Grinch and having a good Christmas spirit.
Tim, Nicki, Brianne, Cappy, Jordan and Morgan for your help.
We would not have finished this successfully without you; big hugs!
For allowing me to participate in your holiday window project and
giving me a job last Christmas so I could visit my soldier son on the other side of the country. Three deployments in six years=not many Christmases together.
For Jesus, Christmas and everything.
Here’s what the newspapers and television had to say:
I received a call from Macy’s West Coast office in San Francisco inviting me to be interviewed for a local news story:
The symbolism of the design for those seeking deeper meaning:
The winking Santa is the predominant subject. He is based on 1950’s graphic art images of Santa. Dressed in traditional red garb, he holds a garland of blocks that spell MERRY – a reference to my best friend Mary Cowan. On his shoulders is a bag of toys which each have a meaning: