Do you remember the animated Christmas decorations in store windows?


Inez McCollum

Christmas time was so special when our three sons were small. I was a stay-at-home Mom, so money was tight. However, I would not trade that time with those little boys! We had several traditions which we looked forward to each year.

christmas stockings

Activities at church were numerous, but enjoyable, during this season. Our sons would take small gifts to exchange with Sunday School Class friends. On the Sunday before Christmas, their classes would sing carols or read the Story of Christmas from the Bible during the Worship Service.

Do you remember those animated decorations in the department store windows in Downtown Birmingham? There was also a Santa Land area at Pizitz Department Store. We would take our sons to see this beauty and get a photo of them on Santa’s lap. I still display one of the photos in my living room during Christmas.Christmas_display_window_for_the_Pittsburgh_Paints_store_in_Montgomery_Alabama

I would take those sons shopping for gifts for each other, carefully leading one at a time through the Toy Department of TG & Y Variety Store to choose gifts for his brothers. One year after we got home, John said: “Joe, when you open your gift, pull the trigger!” So much for secrecy!

Our sons and I spent a lot of time around the kitchen table sharing lunch or snacks. This was a time for some very “serious” discussions. On one such occasion, the youngest, John, looked at me and asked: “Mother, is there really a Santa Claus?” I had always been able to someway change the subject; but before I could do that, the second son, Joe, spoke up. “John, do you want me to tell you the truth?” I thought: “Thank-you, Joe!” Then he continued and really told John the truth!

A New Years Morning tradition was going out for breakfast. This is something we have continued to do with the sons and their families. The first breakfast out was one we still laugh about. Joe, the starch lover, asked for two orders of hash-browns. They were brought to him on separate plates! This might be the time Jay asked for a hamburger. We did talk him into changing that.

Whatever your traditions might be, have a very blessed and safe Christmas.


ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.

Some stories include:

  • The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
  • The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
  • Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
  • Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
  • Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement



  1. I hope you got my 1947 Christmas Turkey poster from the Uniontown Gin Happy Holidays and thanks for the fine memories. Art Green

  2. I grew up in Birmingham in the 1940’s and at Christmas , and our tradition was to ride the streetcar down to look at the windows of Pizitz and Lovemans. So magical!!

  3. My father David Henry worked at the “Sears and Roebuck” in downtown Birmingham for 44 years in the display department and retired as display manager when they closed the downtown store. It was a joy to visit downtown and see how the store windows were decorated at Christmas. Daddy also decorated the inside of the store with the big, beautiful, sparkly ornaments! I was so proud of him and his talent – he could build just about anything! For a short period of time you would be transported in time to a magical Christmas wonderland!

    1. Mary, you have every right to be proud of your dad! Sears was beautiful at Christmastime! As I read Inez’s story, it brought back some of the best memories of my life. Our beautiful, sweet mother would take my older brother and myself to downtown Birmingham in the late 50’s/early 60’s to look at the beautiful decorations at Christmas. What a joy it was to be in the bustling city in the chilly evening with crowds of people! Such a gift! Merry Christmas!

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