Yes, but a mixed blessing at times, what with all the activities and preparation.  There’s the gift buying and wrapping; the Christmas cards to design and get produced; the updating of the mailing list, and the necessary trip to the post office.  There’s the tree to purchase and install and decorate; there’s all of the Christmas decorations from the past to get out and place.   There’s the Christmas formal including getting the traditional corsage for Barbara; numerous other parties to go to and make nice (isn’t it nice to have them, though).  Putting up some outdoor lights.  Placing and lighting the Snow Village ceramic houses, about all that’s left from the old basement trains.  Ah, but there’s a concession: there’s the three by six snow-covered Christmas village I built last year, with its old world lighted houses, its trees, and its single loop of HO track for a mountain passenger train.  That just got up on the 23rd.  Here’s part of it.

Image 8


I made a point, however, of also taking in much of what Philadelphia has to offer during the holiday weekends.  On one Saturday we toured the annual Christmas Market outside City Hall.  This year the village was much bigger and was spread around Love Park.  The booths ranged from pure seasonal to home improvement but the Christmas items were inviting.

Image 02


The decorated park provided an interesting perspective for Ben Franklin.  (Later:  my friend, Roz, just nicely corrected me; that’s William Penn, not Ben Franklin.  Oh, well.)

Image 01


We enjoyed the wurst although it wasn’t Nuremberg wurst, but the gluehwein was not memorable.  We were reminded of our previous visits to Bavaria and the Christmas Markets.   Here’s the Nuremberg market a few years ago, by the 14th C. Schöner Brunnen or beautiful fountain.

Image 9

Here we enjoyed the totally memorable Nuremberg Wurst.  The small sign in the background announces beer or wine at €2.  Not bad.

SI Exif


Another weekend we made our way to the always lively and colorful Reading Terminal Market to see their annual train display.  It was nice but the market, itself, was fun.  Lots of people, seemingly in a good mood, enjoying live entertainment, eating,  and stocking up from a wide variety of choices.

Image 07

My favorite area is always the produce section where the colors seductively say, “Take me home.”  Another great addition to my placemat series.

Image 03


 From there we hiked over to Wanamaker’s or Strawbridge’s (it was, briefly) or, I guess, Macy’s for the annual light show, along with probably only a few thousand others.  Don’t go on a weekend.

Image 04

Yeah, only a few memories, having seen my first light show (with dancing fountains) with Marty Lou and my daughters in 1962.  It’s still a powerful show, made more so by the years of memories.  In later years we left the show to go upstairs to see Santa and to pick out an ornament for the tree.  Many of those still appear on the tree.

Because of the crowd I couldn’t see the show directly (the usher chased me from the vantage point above).  So, I noticed some of the other beautiful seasonal decorations.

Image 05


Although it’s raining today (Christmas Eve), and Barbara has slipped north to spend Christmas with her Dedham family, I have many nice things to reflect on from the month’s activities.  With the tree up and decorated and the train running I can enjoy my morning coffee amidst memories in the sun room.  The tree was bigger than I should have bought and I had to have help getting it into the house and in place.  It was worth it.  The fragrance, alone, on entering the room is wonderful.

Image 06

There are ornaments on the tree that were on my parents’ first tree in 1918; there are ornaments from my grandparents’ tree; there are ornaments that we purchased for our first tree; and there are the ornaments that the kids purchased over the years.  It provides me with a great, comforting sense of continuity.

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year but it’s also a bittersweet time, sometimes even lip-quivering, remembering family and friends who have gone.

I am profoundly comforted by those that remain…..personal friends here on campus and nearby, some even from childhood….my shore-life friends….my immediate family which is my support system, Sigrid, Bob, Madeline, Gretchen and Kirsten….my friends and colleagues that I have met and learned from and enjoyed through my photography passion….and my cousins, nephews and nieces with whom I’ve reconnected through social media.


A Merry Christmas To All!!



  1. Bonnie Says:

    Thank you for sharing wonderful memories and photos! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

  2. Terry Wilson Says:

    Merry Christmas Ralph! It’s great to see that you set up a vignette from your train inventory. I have fond memories from your open house a few years back where we all enjoyed watching your trains do the rounds.

  3. Vince Menzel Says:

    Hi Ralph. Great photos and memory lane walk. Awesome tree and train layout too! Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

  4. Diane Says:

    Thank you for sharing Ralph and a very Merry Christmas and wonderful 2015!

  5. Ken Curtis Says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Ralph. Looks like you’ve gone to a lot of effort to make your home Christmasy. I’ve enjoyed your blogs throughout the year and look forward to more story telling in 2015. Good luck with the new camera too. I am sure you deserve that gift to yourself. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  6. Janet Hadley Says:

    Beautiful memories, and beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us, Ralph. Our tree is similar to yours, with some ornaments going back generations, and others marking milestones and places we visited in our lives. Looking at it brings back smiles and sometimes a moment of laughter thinking of events from past Christmases. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  7. Tracey Says:

    I enjoyed this, Ralph. Merry Christmas

  8. Caroline Says:

    Merry Christmas Ralph!
    With love,
    Caroline, Tom, Sam & Virginia

  9. Skip V. Says:

    Thanks for sharing your very introspective views of the season. They are so warm and much appreciated. Skip V.

  10. Ralph Berglund Says:

    Thanks, Skip. There are probably lots of things we agree on.

  11. Mary Lou Webber Says:

    Thanks Ralph for your Christmas Greetings and memories. So much of your remembering parallels our Family Christmas celebrations. This year we were in Madison, WI and Grosse Pointe Farms visiting our mid- west families. Back in Haddonfield to bring in the New Year with friends. Mary Lou Webber

  12. Claire Winward Says:

    Happy New Year! I’m a week late, but your sharing is quite special. We take the things that mean the most to us when we move, and you are surrounded with a lifetime of precious memories – I know you and I are continuing to create moments that make our lives meaningful. Hope to see you in 2015 – not sure where…(inside note). Hugs, Claire

  13. Bob Williams Says:

    It was great seeing you and Barbara over the Holiday. It was just a bit harder hearing you! Have a Happy and healthy New Year! Bob

  14. denisebushphoto Says:

    A most wonderful holiday post! Happy New Year and all y best in 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.