Ryan Seacrest and American Idol's Lee DeWyze kick off Macy's awesome holiday festivities in Chicago

It doesn't take much to get me in the mood for the holidays.  Heck, a pine scented candle will throw me into a deep reverie about Santa, Christmas, holiday decor...I could go on and on.  So, it was no surprise that Macy's State Street's recent (107th!) Great Tree Lighting and its animated windows unveiling just about shot me into outer space.  TV/radio host/producer Ryan Seacrest hosted this big event (his menswear line "Ryan Seacrest Distinction" is carried there now) and American Idol winner Lee DeWyze performed soulful holiday tunes.

The afternoon began in the beautiful  wood-paneled Walnut Room underneath Austrian crystal chandeliers on the 7th floor where a 45' tree took pride of place.   More than 6,000 lights filled the tree along with 3,000 sparkling, silver colored ornaments.  Childrens' beaming smiles were everywhere.  Little faces were squeezed through the railings of the Mezzanine trying not to miss any excitement below.  It was reminiscent of the excitement of Christmas Eve, except in this case, I'm guessing this tree was a little bigger than the ones they might have at home.

Carolers dressed in attire straight out of a Dickens novel opened the program standing in front of the tree (which made for the perfect photo opp). Macy's Kim Groth and Martine Reardon welcomed the crowd and introduced Seacrest, who was a sheer delight!  He took selfies with anyone who asked and was very gracious to all of the reporters on the Red Carpet (moi included).

Before pressing the over-sized, glowing red button to light up the tree, Seacrest invited 4 year-old Chase and his family onstage from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Together, they pushed the magic button and the Great Tree came to life.  Snowflakes danced across the ceiling as the light show began.  The tree hangs from the ceiling rather than standing on a base which makes it even cooler.

We toured the store and, believe me, it is filled with holiday cheer from top to bottom!  The 6th floor is literally a wonderland with dozens of themed, decorated trees filling every nook and cranny.  Ornaments and gifts of every kind tempt you at every turn.  There's a darling Build-A-Bear shop, Harry Barker gifts for the pampered pooch, Lionel Trains, Boo and Grumpy Cat toys, Paddington Bear products, Madame Alexander Dolls and even a place to write and send (or email) letters to Santa!

Macy's truly does put the magic of the holidays right at your fingertips!  Can't wait to return and share my list with Santa!  (The really great images in the photo gallery are by Sebastian Biedron!)

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