Windows that welcome you inside

  • Terrence Howell of Seasonal Window Art decorate the windows for the holiday season at Omelette Express in Windsor, California on Thursday, November 8, 2012. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Window shopping is a favorite activity during the winter holidays, allowing shoppers a dose of holiday spirit along with a glimpse of what's inside the store before they venture in to find gifts for loved ones.

Display windows rise to the season: The decor can be sublime, reflecting a holiday or winter theme or even a popular Christmas story. Store managers plan their window fronts months in advance, creating elaborate scenes to entice shoppers to step in out of the cold.

"Window presentation is very important to me. That is your first impression and invitation to come in," said Monti Gantt, owner of Nicole's Fashion Boutique in Petaluma. Gantt decided to go with a cheerful and bright-colored motif this year, sticking within the Christmas theme for a whimsical and fun look to draw shoppers towards the popular clothes styles within.

The theme of Ooh La Loft, a fashion boutique in Petaluma, emphasizes the hopefulness in the holidays. The store plans to add a "Wish Tree" to their window display, allowing customers the chance to write out their wishes on a slip of paper and add them to a special tree visible to all who pass by, so they can read what others have wished for.

"Holiday windows have always been a huge deal for us," said Michelle Wilson, who owns the shop with her twin sister, Cristina Wilson. She uses the sisters' travels as inspiration in their year-round window themes, something that has proven popular among guests to their store.

"We have had customers in the past take pictures of our windows and post it on their personal social media which in turn brings their friends in," she said.

Robindira Unsworth, owner of the Petaluma store under the same name, has also decided to celebrate the positive and hopeful.

"This holiday season for me is always a time to remember all that I am grateful for and to share that message," she said as she described her store's window holiday decor.

Incorporating pieces of her jewelry collection in a "Twinkle of a Starry Night" theme, Unsworth is brightening the store window with shimmering silver trees, sparkling lights and dangling twinkling stars.

But while she puts a lot of love into the windows of her own store, Unsworth also turns a curious eye towards the efforts of the shops around her during the holidays.

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