The Voice winner Jordan Smith hosts Macy's 110th Great Tree Lighting

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially at Macy's State Street, where on Friday, November 3, the Magic of Macy's came to life in the Walnut Room. Excited guests arrived early to queue up for a beloved tradition that has been around for 110 years--experiencing the lighting of the Great Tree! (See tree lighting here!)

This year's celebrity host was The Voice winner, Jordan Smith. His crystal clear voice filled the room with holiday classics like "Silent Night,", "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" and, his favorite, "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch." (Listen here!)

Smith said he was thrilled to be in Chicago on his birthday where, earlier in the day, he was surprised with a cake by Macy's staff. He said the festivities reminded him of experiencing Christmas in his hometown in Kentucky. "The whole town, population 1800, would all fit here in the Walnut Room," he joked. (His upcoming plans include a Christmas Tour with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith).

Kim Groth, Macy's State St. VP/Manager, welcomed guests as "fairies" circulated throughout the room granting wishes to wide-eyed kids. Following festive tunes sung by The Caroling Party, she acknowledged the team, and designer Paul Anthony, who constructed and lit the tree in just 72 hours. She announced that Nov. 3 was also the 50th anniversary of the store's holiday windows.

Jeff Gennette, Macy's CEO, said, "Of all the department stores in the world for the holidays, Macy's on State Street stands out as number one!..."Part of what makes this store special during the holidays is its architecture and where it's located in the community...It's the Walnut Room, it's the great tree, it's the windows, it's the trumpets! It's an amazing bit of architecture. The heart of the city is here."

For the last 14 years, during the holidays, Macy's has been affiliated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as its charity partner. Gennette said, "We have granted, on average, about 3 wishes per day for 14 years, touching 2.5 million kids." During the season, for every wish kids drop in the box at Macy's, the store donates $1 to Make-A-Wish.

Joining Smith in lighting the tree were Make-A-Wish Ambassador, 7 year-old Jack and his slightly younger brother Sean. Jack said he's had the most "fun lighting the tree and sitting by the teddy bear." When asked what he was planning for Christmas, he replied, "Getting stuff."

The entire store (especially the 5th floor galleries) are now brimming with Christmas decor and gifts (see video here!) for both the young and the young-at-heart. The windows are filled with whimsy and the trumpets lining State Street are waiting. Ho! Ho! Ho! (Many photos by Jeff Schear).

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