The purpose of this study was to propose various directions for effectively proposing window displays that satisfy changing consumer needs by investigating and analyzing the characteristics of unexpected expressions used in recent Christmas windows. Research was conducted by investigating unexpectedness in window displays through literature reviews and previous studies. To observe unexpectedness in Christmas windows, website-based case images of window displays from the six years between 2010 and 2015 were collected from the department stores of Bergdorf Goodman, Printemps, Selfridges, and Isetan. Unexpected expressions in department-store Christmas window displays could be categorized into four expressive methods of hybrid expressions, figurative expressions, amusing expressions, and exaggerative expressions. The results were as follows: First, hybrid expressions are interpreted by consumers as having new or diverse meanings that change the original external forms of subjects or objects. Second, Christmas colors are used in the window backgrounds’ figurative expressions, but these windows do not use excessive expressions; furthermore, these windows personify people as animals and anthropomorphize animals as people, using subjects to depict other subjects to show unfamiliar images. Third, amusing expressions are used to decorate windows with unique and novel ideas that provide stimulation and amusement for customers and capture their attention through the composition of windows that entail childish props and elements that create funny. Fourth, exaggerative expressions deliberately stretch and expand subjects or objects in windows to elicit customers’ curiosity and interest through emphasis.


window display, Christmas, unexpectedness


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