Macy’s unveils holiday plans for the Great Tree, dining, windows and more for 2020
today at 9:47 am
Walnut Room will reopen on November 7 featuring the 113th annual iconic Great Tree
As everything, in this cray year of the pandemic, things will be a little different this year at Macy’s State Street Store’s Holiday celebration.
The good things:
- The 113th annual Great Tree will be holding court at the center of the Walnut Room as it has for generations starting November 7.
- Guests will be able to dine under the tree and enjoy all of their holiday favorites including Mrs. Hering’s Chicken Pot Pie–adding a bit of normality to a year that has been nothing but normal.
- Macy’s will take down the boards and bring joy to all with their animated holiday windows (this year’s theme, TBA).
Here’s the details:
Dining in: For the first time in the history of the Walnut Room, patrons will be required to book reservations the holiday season, which will be available starting on October 9 on OpenTable.com. Patrons will be seated on a socially-distanced basis while the iconic Great Tree serves as the centerpiece of the holiday season in downtown Chicago.
“We’ve reimagined the Walnut Room experience while maintaining holiday traditions near and dear to the heart of generations of Chicagoans—from the beloved items on the menu to new ways to capture a memory in front of the Great tree or make a wish with the Fairy Princess,” said Matt Sarosy, Macy’s on State Street Store Manager. “We are committed to providing the quality experience our customers expect as well as providing a safe and healthy dining experience, following the Centers for Disease Control and local guidelines. The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority.”
The cost: The Walnut Room’s 2020 holiday menu features a three-course pre-fixe meal for $49.95 with a variety of choices, including Mrs. Hering’s beloved chicken pot pie, cider glazed turkey as well as Frango® ice cream pie and more. A kid’s pre-fixe meal will also be available for $19.95 and includes a 2020 Walnut Room holiday mug.
Takeout: Not quite ready to dine in? Chicagoans can enjoy the classic Mrs. Hering’s Chicken Pot Pie at home with family-style take-out meals that may be picked up in store or delivered by GrubHub.
Macy’s Holiday Windows
The annual Animated Holiday Windows and the 42 signature holiday trumpets that herald the holiday season above the windows along State Street will be part of the 2020 celebration.
As the first store to ever feature holiday windows created for the pure fun and joy of the season, Macy’s began a tradition that still lives on today. Each year, Macy’s on State Street’s annual holiday windows share the magic of the season within the themed window displays. Sure to surprise and delight, these elaborate displays are home to detailed art creations and animation which throughout the years have brought life to the classic tales of the Brothers Grimm, Dr. Seuss and many others. Nearly every element in the windows is handmade, as skilled craftspeople wire, sculpt, sew and paint to create the elaborate and magical windows. Macy’s Visual team, along with skilled carpenters and engineers, work round the clock for more than two weeks to unpack, sort and install the holiday windows before its ready for reveal.
The Great Tree
This year’s Great Tree will inspire Chicagoans to give ove and believe with festive gold ornaments sharing these heartwarming sentiments of the season. In accordance with local guidelines on indoor dining, the Great Tree will be accessible only to customers dining in the Walnut Room. New this year, Macy’s will provide a photo experience with the Great Tree—including one complimentary photo for each party of Walnut Room customers.
For 113 years, the Great Tree has been the centerpiece of the Chicago holiday season. Located inside the beloved Walnut Room at Macy’s on State Street, the Great Tree stands 45-feet-tall and hangs from the ceiling versus sitting on its base. Since the tree hangs from the ceiling, the very first piece to be installed is the star that sits on top. Section by section, the team steadily lifts, constructs and decorates the tree from the top down until completed. Generations of families have grown up with this holiday tradition, making a point to visit the illustrious tree adorned with more than 2,000 ornaments and 6,600 sparkling lights. The Great Tree is estimated to weigh approximately 3,000 pounds. As part of the 2017 tree lighting honoring this 110-year tradition, Macy’s restored vintage ornaments used in years past, including an Uncle Mistletoe figure dated back to the 1940s. A display of vintage ornaments and photos of past Great Trees is open for viewing on the 7th floor.
The Walnut Room is the very first restaurant and longest running in a department store. Opened in 1907 as the South Tea Room, it became known among the ladies of Chicago as the Walnut Room with its beautiful Circassian walnut paneling and Austrian crystal chandeliers. By 1937 it was officially named The Walnut Room. In this spot each year, the iconic 45-foot Great Tree appears from November to early January.
What paved the way for the opening of the Walnut Room? In the 1880s, it was still unacceptable for a lady to dine unescorted by a gentleman. So, if she became hungry or was downtown during the lunch hour, while shopping, she had no choice but to return home. One day Mrs. Hering, a sales associate in the Millinery Department, shared her own lunch—a homemade chicken pot pie made from her grandmother’s recipe—with a hungry client and the rest is history. Legend has it that her guest convinced Mrs. Hering to make more pies for the next day and invited her friends to dine and view the latest hats. As the story goes, Marshall Field was making his daily rounds, heard laughter from the stock room and poked his head in. Widely known for “giving the lady what she wants,” Field opened a modest tea room in 1890. The South Tea Room followed in 1907 and by 1937 was officially named the Walnut Room. To this day, Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie is still the most popular dish on the menu. Reservations during the 2020 holiday season and additional information are available at macyswalnutroom.com.
Macy’s Safety Measures
The health and safety of Macy’s colleagues and customers is always our top priority. Macy’s has implemented enhanced safety and wellness procedures to help alleviate any potential health concerns, following the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended protocol. This includes enhanced cleaning in heavily trafficked areas and hard surfaces, which include entrances, customer service stations, vertical transportation, restrooms and break rooms. Additionally, Macy’s provides our colleagues with face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and guides daily wellness checks to support a safe working environment. To further enhance safety, Macy’s also requires our customers to wear a facial covering while shopping in our stores. Customers in the Walnut Room will be asked to follow the local guideline that diners wear face covering while seated at all times (including when interacting with staff), except when actively eating or drinking, and to follow directional signage to promote social distancing. If the customer does not have a mask, Macy’s will be happy to provide one. Macy’s encourages colleagues to continue to follow the CDC recommended everyday measures and will remain vigilant and partner with local and state officials. Additional information about Macy’s mask policy and enhanced safety measures is available at macys.com.
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