Old traditions with a new twist. From Daytons to Marshalls to Macy’s , we’ve remained loyal connoisseurs of the downtown Minneapolis holiday offerings. And even though the Day in the Life of an Elf 8th Floor Macy’s exhibit is back for its third year in a row, we don’t belittle it because the story used to change every year. We get that it’s a down economy and it’s actually sustainable to reuse it. We also understand that this is a chance to walk through a Christmas storybook and discover new things each time (the kids still have short term memory working in their favor). um, yeah, and it’s free.
This past Friday, with schools out for their two week break, we kicked it off with our annual visit to Macy’s. We headed downtown around 2:30 and parked in the Macy’s parking ramp. Straight to the eighth floor we went, relieved to find that we weren’t re-routed to the 3rd floor like last year on a Saturday afternoon to wait for 2.5 hours. We chatted with the volunteer elf at entrance to discover that the lines last Friday were long. We lucked out today with no wait whatsoever.
A Day in the Life of an Elf seemed to go remarkably quick. We took some time out to read all the story lines and get engrossed in some of the elaborate details of the story. We check out all of the life-like trees, learn about the rigors of Reindeer Flight School and intently observe the bakery and present wrapping areas. Calvin especially liked the candy cane maker.
We left the elves and shuttled right into the Santa line. About a 7 minute wait – the kids barely had time to compose their mental list. Santa looked the part, but I wish he had prompted both kids to list a few more things. Now I am stuck trying to find an alternate to the DQ Blizzard Maker Ava (7-yrs-old) has seen on TV. In less than a minute, Macy’s gets $14 from me for a 5×7 picture (this year I see they added 1 image on a flashdrive for $21). A woman in line marveled that Macy’s wouldn’t allow her to snap a Santa photo with her own camera. As we leave Santa, Ava can’t resist a parting shot, “You’re not really Santa, you’re just an elf.”
Mrs. Claus’ bakery is right at the exit. Normally after long lines and waiting, the kids are absolutely starved and I end up buying all sorts of fancy cookies here. Today, we breeze through and hop into line for something new they’ve added this year: Moose Crossing, a Puppet Show. For $4, totally worth it. I stand in line next to a woman who is here to see her son, a puppeteer (who has actually performed this show in New York and thought Minneapolis would enjoy it, so brought it here). They show is frequent enough and there’s seating for about 60 with kids welcome in the front row, as long as they don’t cross the braided carpet that allows them to see the puppeteers (of course one kid does during the show, everyone laughs).
Twenty minutes later, we’re on the way out. I like the concept, but felt it was a little disconnected. I thought it was odd that Timber Tony, an emcee with another character, had an Italian /Bronx accent (I am sure this puppeteer was Ben Affleck), but given the insight that the puppeteers were from NYC it made some sense. Calvin noted that Timber Tony never listens to anything. There were singing trees and some holiday drama – I think I drifted off at that point.
Need food. I’ve always shied away from the Skyroom on the 12th floor at Macy’s. Never again. We enter along the curved wall of sky and clouds and find several deli options, noodles beckons us in. Kids go for the mac’n cheese (with star sugar cookie, fruit and chocolate milk) and I order a tomato, olive oil parm pasta with a glass of wine. The portions are substantial and it all comes to $20.
We find a window view. Some kid is standing on the window ledge, “Mommy, this looks just like New York!” I agree – it does have that feel to it – complete with background music, a piano (not in play at the moment), a silver tree and the sparkly “Believe” sign. Now, I believe, I am ready to shop.
We head to the first floor to Lush Cosmetics. I need some fun holiday gifts and the kids love to smell everything and give it their best no-holds-barred reaction. Some soaps they want to eat, others they think stink.
The packaging resembles how you’d buy cheese – They cut it for you right there, wrap it up like a deli would and slap a barcode on it. We end up with Angel’s Delight Soap (shown here), Bubblegum LipScrub and Honey LipBalm. We thank the Lushish girls and visit the accessories section before it’s time to go home, just post rush-hour traffic at 6:10.
Old traditions and new inspiration made for a good visit to Macy’s. We’ll be back for the Holidazzle tomorrow!