The Story Behind Bandra’s Iconic Damian Store Christmas Displays

The Story Behind Bandra’s Iconic Damian Store Christmas Displays

“They deck the halls with boughs of holly, and much, much more...”

Bandra is the epicentre of all Christmas activities in the city, and anybody who’s lived here long enough knows it. From brightly lit-up streets to carols flooding the air, not to mention those delicious marzipan sweets lined up in people’s kitchens, merriment comes in many shapes and sizes but there’s a solitary Christmas display that stands out from all the rest.

And it’s become something of a landmark moment when their lights do come on at the end of each year. The Damian showroom is Bandra’s annual display has become the stuff legends are made of, attracting people from all corners of the city to come stare at it awe-struck with camera phones in hand, so we stepped behind their curtains to speak with the little elves that clearly live there.

From breath-taking, intricate decor to larger-than-life recreations of festive story tales and more, this window of celebration takes great amounts of patience, time, and thought; especially when you consider they change their themes every single year.

Turns out there were no little elves (bummer) but owner and designer Mr. Frederick Pereira was more than happy to give us a glimpse either way. This year’s theme is all about nativity, celebrating the birth of baby Jesus with life-size statues of all the manger characters, crafted to perfection.

The centre window showcases three beautifully assembled stories, starting with William Tell--the legend of an expert marksman proving his mettle with a bow, arrow and apple. Next, Damian retells the tale of Gulliver the giant and his adventures.

Following that, we see the Mad Hatter grinning beside Alice, with all the other characters from Wonderland joining the party. And to top it all off, the right-hand side window sports a large Santa Claus on his sleigh, with reindeer and a snowman surrounding his jolliness. From the window above hangs a large sign decorated with holly and bows that wishes all passersby a very Merry Christmas.

Mr. Pereira, the brain behind this entire festive operation, painstakingly decides the theme of the display year after year, and consequently designs it from start to finish, with impeccable attention to detail. He then hires professional teams to undertake the craft work, art work, painting work and more, ensuring the showroom is as magical as ever.

As he tells us, “When we first had the idea to decorate the window, we started off with smaller things. As the years went by, we noticed how people would travel to come see our display and how it inspired them. This motivated us to go bigger and improve each year.”

We learn how Mr. Pereira’s heart lies in the spirit of the holiday, and he works tirelessly to put smiles on the faces of each person that views his marvellous creation.

Having never repeated a design or theme, each year Damian has something new to show, and the best part is, it magically appears before you. While the elves at Damian work hard to assemble this display over weeks, on November 30 when the store closes, they arrange the showroom overnight.

So when the store opens on December 1, it’s all dressed up in enchanting beauty. “We don’t want people to have to see us putting up the decorations, it all happens overnight so one day the display is regular furniture, and the next it’s Christmas,” Mr. Pereira tells us.

Scroll on for the dancing lights, enchanting characters, snowy Santa and everything Christmas at Damian’s holiday showroom.

Photographs: Karan Khosla 

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