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9 Retailers the Holidays Aren't the Same Without

For decades these stores were focal points for seasonal shopping. Where are they now?

A woman looking at a catalog


Some stores are just synonymous with the holidays — or were.

Depending on where and when you grew up, it might have been the iconic downtown department store with magical decorations and a line to see Santa. Or a chain staple packed with the year's hottest toys and latest gadgets.

These days, holiday shopping takes place largely online, and there's a lot to be said for that: the convenience, the selection and (in 2020, at least) the social distancing. But it's hard to imagine getting nostalgic in years to come about the amazing Black Friday deal you scored on an Instant Pot from Amazon.

That kind of gauzy memory is more the province of the retailers listed here. They ran the gamut of gift options and seasonal associations, but they have two important things in common. For decades, and for millions, they were a highlight of the holidays. And they're pretty much gone.

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