Generations of Twin Citians fondly remember Dayton's/Marshall Fields/Macy's 8th floor displays. Back in the day, they even had their outside window displays with animated charaters that reflected the same storyline of the main display. This is where the wonderment of Christmas begins, taking a story and making it come to life.
There are about 10 parts of the book that are brought to life by small, moving figures. Often there is special lighting and wonderful detail put into each scene. It becomes nearly real, as if you're walking through the pages of the book. After your exploration of the book, you can visit/take pictures with Santa, or wander through the small, adjacent shop.
It's quite possible you've never ventured to the 8th floor in Macys, but it really is quite spectacular. On weekends there are often longer lines and on weekdays, it is much more quiet. This is to be expected, for obvious reasons that need no mention. Either way, it is worth it. The entire event could, if played right, be an investment of only gas and your time. But for kids, who wouldn't give that up! On weekends, there is free parking downtown Minneapolis at the meters. The cost of seeing the display is nothing. There is, however, an opportunity at the end of the display to make purchases of gifts, bakery goods, toys, books, and what-have-you. In my opinion, to make the event even more memorable, buy a cookie or two and share them. DO NOT purchase the bottled water. They practically take your wallet from you for the water. Simply proceed out the door toward the bench seating, located there are FREE drinking fountains.
Additionally, I've always found the wonderment of Christmas and of the Macy's 8th floor display even greater after a visit to the 5th floor where the Christmas decorations are on display. Beautiful trees to look at, Nutcrackers to try out for careful little ones, watched diligently by the bigger kids (aka adults), and other fun holiday decor.