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Christmas Parish Life

The AM&A’s iconic Christmas Nativity window display now resides in South Buffalo


Our Lady of Charity Parish is blessed to have one of the truly iconic and faith-filled window displays in its possession. The Nativity scene that adorned the historic AM&A’s building in downtown Buffalo now rests at the South Buffalo church.

When the classic Buffalo department store closed its doors in 1994, Msgr. George Brennan purchased the huge animated nativity scene to put on display at Holy Family Parish on South Park Avenue in South Buffalo.

In the past, only a few figures were displayed at Holy Family during the holidays, then placed in the rectory attic. This year, when we most need the love of our Savior, every single antique figure of that iconic AM&A’s window has been taken out of the attic, dusted off and set up for all to once again gaze at. And somehow, after all these years, all the figures are in perfect working order.

It was the idea of Brian Meyer, director of Worship for Our Lady of Charity, to resurrect the tradition.

“I knew a little bit of the history of it,” he said. “It used to be the Nativity scene that would be used at Holy Family Worship site. So, I said, ‘Why don’t we take it down from the attic and take it over to our new parish center and display it in the window,’ because it was originally a window display and make it an authentic as it was to the AM&A’s window.”

Also, by placing it at the huge central window of the Our Lady of Charity Parish Center, people can view it without being crowded indoors.

The 15 animated characters in the display include the Holy Family, three wise men, a donkey and even a cow. In less than one day, a Facebook video of the active scene drew more than 3,500 views.

 “It’s so iconic and nostalgic,” Meyer said. “People need some hope during the pandemic. (We want) to be able to give them some joy and bring back memories of their own youth and better days.”

Parishioners in the parish remember Mrs. Grant, who re-created many of the outfits adorned by these figures. Our Lady of Charity Parish staff lovingly re-created the original downtown AM&A’s storefront window in the huge central window of the Our Lady of Charity Parish Center at 260 Okell St. The scene will be illuminated at dusk each night for the next three weeks. Everyone is invited to drive by, or walk up and view this iconic Christmas scene which we are all so blessed to share.

“If it’s bringing people closer to their faith and giving them hope during these trying times, then I feel like we’re doing our job at the parish,” Meyer said.

The iconic AMA&A’s Nativity Scene is sure to bring back memories of Christmases long, long ago. Our Lady of Charity Parish staff set up the nostalgic scene in the parish center to warm some hearts during this Covid Christmas season. Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Charity.

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