Soundtrack Of A Photograph, The Christmas Editions, Part 21

Song- White Christmas

Artist- Bing Crosby

Yesterday my family got together for an early Christmas celebration. Even though we all live close to each other we all do our own thing on Christmas Day now. But usually close to Christmas we gather at mom and dad’s apartment to decorate the tree and exchange gifts. As the day progressed, I realized the day was a microcosm of sorts of all the things I have written about in this Christmas series thus far. It started off with me putting the lights on the tree, and before long we all started putting the multitude of ornaments on. At some point, in a box with some other decorations was the nativity scene. With my niece’s help it was soon set up on a side table. Beer and other beverages were in abundance along with lots of food. As the pile of ornaments that are a mix of old and new gradually got smaller, it was time for the three elf ornaments to go on by my sisters and myself, a Doyle family tradition for years now.

Earlier this week, a fellow blogger posted a question on her blog about what traditions people followed ( at this time of year. Those rituals that families do at this time of year especially. For some it might be all going together to buy the tree. For others it might be the same meal that is served at Christmas every year. Or maybe who gets to put the star or angel on top of the tree. Perhaps for some it is the songs that are sung, or something as simple as sitting down to watch classic Christmas movies like It’s A Wonderful Life, or Miracle On 34th Street. My family has variations on those of course, but I think the first one that really comes to mind is those elf ornaments. Though I truthfully do not remember buying them, apparently they were purchased sometime in the 1970’s at our local garden center (where I eventually found myself working for 14 years later on in life). I guess my sisters had the idea of buying three identical elf ornaments (save for the color). Though I do not remember purchasing them, I do remember as the years went on that we always had to put them on together. Nobody else could put them on the tree, and they could not be put on as if it were any other ornament. When we were not able to all get together to decorate the family tree, the elves were put aside until we were all present. In the handful of times that we were not all together for Christmas, Mom or Dad acted as proxy. As the years went on further, we began taking photographic proof of these moments, of each of us holding our ornaments up like we had just caught a fish, red for me, blue for my sister Noreen, green for my sister Eileen. A simple tradition of course, but one that would not feel right if we were not able to do it every year.

I thought hard about what song to include today. At first I thought about ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ which has nostalgia built right into it. But then I realized that like with those family traditions, there are certain songs, and specific versions of those songs that I would miss, were I not to hear them every year at this time. It is just like putting those elf ornaments on the tree. It is tradition, and a Christmas without hearing Bing Crosby singing White Christmas is not something I want to ever contemplate. It is a fitting song to keep those traditions alive, whatever they may be for your family, and a great choice for today’s blog.

White Christmas-Written By Irving Berlin

Special thanks to my wife, Jennifer Andrus Doyle for taking the photos for this installment.

All other photos from Soundtrack Of A Photograph are by Robert P. Doyle

All images in this blog are available in limited supply for purchase as unframed prints. Sizes may vary. Contact via for details.

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2 thoughts on “Soundtrack Of A Photograph, The Christmas Editions, Part 21

  1. Thank you for sharing, Robert! I loved this – especially the elf ornaments circa 1970. They look so old fashioned, which is very symbolic of your longstanding tradition. Thank you for the mention as well. I look forward to reading more from you!


    1. My pleasure Olivia.Yes those ornaments are so simple, so old fashioned in many ways but as you say, so symbolic of our tradition somehow. When I was thinking about those ornaments on our way up there yesterday, I thought about your post, and what I said, and decided there and then that it would be my next post. It all fit together so it seemed only fair to give you a shout out, so thank you again and have a beautiful holiday.


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