We’re well into the shopping frenzy and the holiday season is upon us. The sparkle of the city is showing, as the big department stores have rolled out their annual holiday window displays. But no matter which holiday — or what lucky person — you’re shopping for, each location has a special seasonal surprise to see. Below is our 2012 guide to New York City’s holiday windows, perfect for getting you into the spirit of the season. By Krissy Dolor.

More Photos: A Close-Up Look At NYC’s Department Store Holiday Windows

Snowflake Spectacular

156729564 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Saks Fifth Avenue)

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The Fifth Avenue flagship store features a Snowflake Spectacular light show projected onto the building. This year’s story is about the Snowflake and The Yeti, and also features dancers and gifts. The technology used even maps the landmark building’s details to create a vivid 3D projection, which can appear to change the store’s outdoor features itself. See how the Snowflake and Yeti’s story plays out in this fashionable holiday fantasy.

The Magic of Christmas

156460662 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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This year’s Macy’s Christmas windows celebrate the magic of holiday traditions throughout the ages. The 2012 windows were created by award-winning designer Paul Olszewski, who brings together modern technology and old-school elements, like marionnette-esque puppetry, for a mix all ages can enjoy and appreciate. In addition to displaying iconic scenes and seasonal elements, the windows’ vintage tin effect will at a nostalgia value to those who view it. Also, the department store dedicates it’s windows to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the third consecutive year.

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away

156346073 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Bloomingdale’s)

This department store’s Lexington Avenue location takes this year’s inspiration from Paramount Pictures’ movie, “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D,” which will be released in theaters on December 21. Five scenes from the film will be inside the windows and will feature hand-painted fantasy murals and sculpted animation. While you’re viewing, don’t forget to download the Bloomingdale’s 59th & Lex app, which has an additional surprise in each window — like snapping pictures of family and friends in a photograph that can be shared via social media.

BG Follies of 2012

bergdorf holiday window by ricky zehavi NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Ricky Zehavi)

This year’s Bergdorf Goodman windows are inspired by the luxe life of American pop culture in the 1920s and ’30s, otherwise known as the Jazz Age. From Art Deco theater-inspired windows to boisterous performances from the likes of the Ziegfeld Follies, Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals and Vaudeville revues, there’s no shortage of high fantasy and dramatic surprise, tied together by the extraordinary fashion BG is known for.

Couture Henri Bendel Designs of the 1920s

156474097 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Henri Bendel)

Continuing with the retro theme, Henri Bendel brings the roaring 20s back to New York City. The main window features a replica of the store’s main selling floor circa 1920, which includes a gold-plated chandelier with Swarovski elements and a grand staircase with mirror panels, inspired by the first Henri Bendel location on 57th Street. Other elements include candy, streamers and a trendy tree. But the main stars are the mannequin characters, which were donated by Spanish mannequin manufacturer Atrezzo.

Electric Holiday

atmoimage3 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Barneys New York)

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Barneys New York partnered with the Walt Disney Company to bring this year’s holiday extravaganza to life, appropriately entitled Electric Holiday. The launch features the moving-art video of Minnie Mouse’s fashion adventure in Paris, where she dons Lanvin on the runway and meets fashion icons like Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell.

Holiday Traditions Around the World

156342738 NYC Department Store Holiday Window Display Guide 2012

(credit:  Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor)

And Lord & Taylor’s windows bring worldwide traditions to the heart of New York City. The department store celebrates 75 years of showcasing their holiday windows through depictions of spending the season with those you love. From seeing Santa Claus on his day off to his travels around the globe dropping off presents from Manhattan (showing snow-covered Central Park) to Asia (featuring vibrant red lanterns, which represent good luck), there’s no shortage of Christmas cheer.

For the latest on fashion, the holidays, and where to shop in the Tri-State, follow us on Twitter!

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