Family Traditions - Winter Wonderland Christmas, Dayton, Ohio – The history behind the Rikes Window Displays
By Molly Jebber, Author of Amish Historical Romance
My favorite part of Christmas is celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth. Mom would always make a Happy Birthday cake in celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday in the shape of a cross, and then, Dad would read the Christmas story out of the Bible. Then we’d pray for all the things we were thankful for the past year. And now, we carry through with making Jesus Christ the reason for the season. Here’s my nativity scene, and the choir figurines are from 1951 and passed onto me from Mom.
Also, as a little girl, I loved when my parents would take my brother and I downtown Dayton at Rikes Department Store to see the moving Christmas characters and scenes. They were big window displays and Christmas carolers would sing. All the scenes were of children around the Christmas tree, getting out of bunkbeds to open their presents, animals chasing each other in the snow and more. They sold hot chocolate, and it was something many families looked forward to each year.
The display was originally sent to Dayton, Ohio from New York in 1943. They first appeared in NCR’S (National Cash Register Corporation) windows.
In 1945, Frederick Rike, owner of Rikes Department Store, was given permission to move the displays to his downtown Dayton store location on Main and Second Streets.
They are brought out and open to the public in glass enclosed boxes on top of beautiful wooden carts inside the Schuster Center, a fairly new and beautiful entertainment and arts building featuring many Broadway plays, concerts, and other events. The first time Ed and I saw the displays again, my childhood memories of my parents and brother having such an enjoyable day each year seeing the windows all came rushing back. This year, due to COVID, they weren’t open to the public. But I’m looking forward to next year! Is there a tradition or place you liked to visit during the Christmas season from childhood or before COVID? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below. I’ll be choosing a winner for a $10 Amazon card from the ones who leave comments below! I'll contact the winner, and then announce the winner in January's post!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Releases January 26, 2021 wherever books are sold. http://www.mollyjebber.com