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Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows

Home > Melbourne > Christmas | Exhibitions | Family | Fun for Children | Museums
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
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What was your favourite Myer Christmas Window?
Myer Christmas Windows
Source Museum Website: Zoe Meagher visiting the windows 1988 with her story book in hand

Everyone has there own memories of Myer's famous Christmas window displays as they have been running for 62 years. Did you know that the first one was in 1956 and it was called
Santa and the Olympics? Quite fitting given the Olympics were held in Melbourne that year between 22 November to 8 December.

Fred Asmussen, who had been in charge of dressing the Bourke Street windows from 1939 came up with the idea. He also continued to dress the Christmas Windows from the initial concept in 1956 through to his last window The Butterfly Ball in 1974.

Myer Christmas Windows
Source Melbourne Museum

Each November, the unveiling of the annual Myer Christmas windows signals to Melbourne that Christmas is on the horizon. For generations, families have come into town before Christmas to gaze in awe at the miniature make-believe worlds behind glass. We all love watching the little figures move in their fantasy lands.

It is also a family tradition for littlies to arrive in their pyjamas and to be hoisted onto parents' shoulders for a grand view. This year, to complement the Myer annual Christmas windows, there will be an exhibition held at the Melbourne Museum from Nov 17 and running into 2019 about previous Christmas windows.

Myer Christmas Windows
Source Melbourne Museum

Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows connects us to the shared memories of the delights of this Melbourne tradition and reveal the magic and creative artistry behind their creation.

This is a magical, glittering, experience for all generations. Kids will love all the cute figures, magical models, beloved books and playful puppets. Older Melburnians can reconnect with the nostalgia of their childhood. Design students and the mechanically minded will be interested in the working drawings, prototypes, props and animatronics.

Myer Christmas Windows
Source Melbourne Museum

The museum has partnered with Myer in order to bring you this exhibition. The museum is also inviting the public to participate in this celebration of make-believe by contributing their own stories and memories of the Myer Christmas Windows.

Just to jog your memory here is a list of all the Christmas windows"

1956 Santa and the Olympics
1957 The Nutcracker
1958 Aladdin
1959 Famous fairy tales
1960 I dreamed of Christmas in different lands
1961 Alice in Wonderland
1962 Santa's journey into space
1963 Cinderella
1964 Peter Pan
1965 Swan Lake
1966 Arabian Nights
1967 Chinese fairy tales
1968 It's a small world
1969 Sleeping Beauty
1970 Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
1971 Disney on parade
1972 Christmas around the world
1973 Coppelia
1974 The Butterfly Ball
1975 The twelve days of Christmas
1976 Peg Maltby's fairy tales
1977 The Snow Queen
1978 Snow White and the seven dwarfs
1979 An international Christmas
1980 A woodland Christmas
1981 Sinbad the sailor
1982 Gilbert and Sullivan
1983 A bear's Christmas
1984 Around the world in eighty days
1985 Fairy tales
1986 Nursery rhymes
1987 Myer bear celebrates Christmas
1988 Pinocchio
1989 Alice in Wonderland
1990 Peter Pan
1991 Cinderella
1992 Snow White and the seven dwarfs
1993 The Wizard of Oz
1994 Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
1995 May Gibbs: the Gumnut Babies
1996 The retrospective
1997 Beatrix Potter
1998 Graeme Base: The eleventh hour
1999 Roald Dahl: Charlie and the chocolate factory
2000 Charles Dickens: A Christmas carol
2001 Kenneth Grahame: Wind in the willows
2002 The twelve days of Christmas
2003 Dr Seuss: How the Grinch stole Christmas
2004 Chris Van Allsburg: The polar express
2005 James Patterson: The Santa Kid
2006 Mem Fox: Wombat Devine
2007 Graeme Base: Uno's garden
2008: How Santa really Works
2009: Olivia helps with Christmas
2010: The Nutcracker
2011 : Santa Claus is Coming to Town
2012: Russell's Christmas Magic
2013: Gingerbread Friends
2014: Santa Claus and the Three Bears

(That's as many as I could find. Can anyone fill in the ones from the last few years?)

And here is the link where you can tell the museum about your specific memory - Click here.
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Why? Relive the memories
When: Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm
Phone: 13 11 02
Where: 11 Nicholson St Carlton 3053
Cost: Price: Free with museum entry
Your Comment
Apparently 2015 was "Little Dog and the Christmas Wish” - - 2016 does not seem to have a title - but depicted Melbourne and Melburnians - - 2017 - seems to be about “Elf’s journey” - Thank you for the story too. The nephew of the very first designer, Fred Asmussen, was actually a very close friend & best man at our wedding. I’d forgotten all about this until I read your interesting story.
by vanda (score: 2|106) 723 days ago
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