Toyland in Manhattan in 1955.
Toyland in Manhattan in 1955.Credit...The New York Times

Toyland in Manhattan in 1955.Credit...The New York Times

We’ll be crowding more and clicking less, carrying more shopping bags and waiting for fewer deliveries.

This holiday shopping season is shaping up to be more in-person than last year’s, but it isn’t likely to be as carefree as in the Before Times. Abbreviated store hours, product shortages, Covid restrictions and safety concerns are expected to make for a holiday shopping experience unlike any in the 80 or so years chronicled in these photos from the New York Times archives.

Still, these pandemic-era challenges don’t seem to be stopping us from spending this season: The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday retail sales this year will set a record. Americans are expected to dole out between $843 billion and $859 billion in November and December, as much as 10.5 percent more than in 2020.

— Roe D’Angelo

ImageThe week before Christmas, Manhattan.
The week before Christmas, Manhattan.Credit...The New York Times
Macy’s in Brooklyn.Credit...The New York Times
Gimbels in Manhattan.Credit...Eddie Hausner/The New York Times
Abraham & Straus in Brooklyn.Credit...John Orris/The New York Times
Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue.Credit...Eddie Hausner/The New York Times
At Macy’s.Credit...Eddie Hausner/The New York Times
Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, N.Y.Credit...Robert Walker/The New York Times
The Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y.Credit...Lou Manna/The New York Times
Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.Credit...Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
B. Altman and Company in Manhattan.Credit...Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
The Galleria mall in White Plains, N.Y.Credit...Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
Herald Square in Manhattan.Credit...Lee Romero/The New York Times
Roosevelt Field in Garden City.Credit...Vic Delucia/The New York Times
The Palisades Center mall in West Nyack, N.Y.Credit...Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times