New York stores unveil holiday windows

Manhattan’s store windows are being transformed into winter wonderlands again and retailers hope they will put shoppers in a spending mood.

Department stores have begun unveiling their lavish takes on the holiday season, ranging from fantasy worlds of snow, ice and animals to traditional Victorian Christmas scenes.

Lord & Taylor kicked off the window debuts on Tuesday with scenes of Christmases past inspired by vintage postcards.

Windows at Macy’s have evolved into interactive multimedia spectacles that include original music, video cameras and animatronic parts, a far cry from its first Christmas displays in 1862. ‘‘You’ll be able to touch a symbol on the glass and activate it,’’ said Paul Olszewski, the store’s director of windows visual merchandising. ‘‘What I want to do is bring the person in to be part of the window, instead of just having them look at it.’’

The displays, along with the Christmas tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center, are among the most famous symbols of Christmas in New York. But stores also see a big financial value. ‘‘We’re in a very highly competitive retail economy, and any way you can garner shopper interest is good,’’ said Eugene Fram, marketing professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Tiffany & Co. will unveil its display Saturday, featuring ice skating, sleighs and a romantic rendezvous in the wintry woods, said Robert Rufino, the jewelry retailer’s vice president of creative services and visual merchandising.

Bloomingdale’s will flourish its display Tuesday, with a look at Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and different traditions from around the world.

And Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows will follow the story of five ice crystals as they search for a snowflake to join and tie into the giant lit snowflakes that grace the store’s exterior.