For many years now I have found Christmas to be anti-climactic. For weeks there is the buildup – – – the decorating, the holiday parties, the music, the final preparation of gifts, and the gathering of family and friends for Christmas dinner.  Then …  Then ?

So now it’s the day after and for me it’s a let-down.  Back to pedestrian reality.  Part of the therapy is to review all of the pleasant and fun events of the buildup.  One that came to mind was Medford’s Dickens Night.  We haven’t been able to go for six years because I was involved in an annual craft show the same day.  When we did get there it was a wonderful evening.

This year we went back but couldn’t see much of the traditional charm because the street was lined with food tents and crafters’ tents.  “You can’t go home again.”


On Christmas Eve morning I was starting to feel some of the let-down so I decided that I needed to go to the city to see and photograph people and color and signs of Christmas.  Off I went on a sparsely occupied High Speed Line …. but pleased to find that my fellow riders included lots of children headed for some center-city excitement.

After arrival in the city I decided to go into Macy’s to find the schedule for their light show.  Instead, I found one in process.  Since it had already started, I wound up well in the back but that was OK as I’ve surely seen it off and on since the early 60’s.  Instead I concentrated on other views and enjoyed the process.  My view was blocked by an arch but it was decorated and so became a sample of everything.

The most exciting part of the show was, after its conclusion, to run into Bobby and Sigrid and grand-daughters Maddy and Gretchen.  We even concluded that we had come in on the same train.  They invited me along for their Christmas Eve wanderings but I demurred as I had photographing in mind.  Here was my final shot at Macy’s, taken after the crowd had dispersed.  That eagle has been coming there even longer than me.


These two shots, however, reminded me of another pleasure several years ago when I captured the Philadelphia Boys Choir at a morning rehearsal before the light show was turned on.


Outside of Macy’s the show windows were Christmasy and colorful.  Here’s one which included a replica of City Hall.

Nahhh.  That’s a reflection but I liked the combination.


Then a walk through City Hall.  I had done the west area a couple of weeks ago so this time I exited towards north Broad Street.  This tree at the entrance was attractive.


From there I walked a couple of blocks east to the Reading Terminal Market, always a favorite.  The market was busy, busy, busy.  I wondered around for a while and then settled in with a PHILADELPHIA Cheese Steak.  It can not be more authentic.  Everyone seemed in a good mood.  After lunch, more wandering including a favorite, the produce area.  A box of Driscoll’s strawberries was about 40% less than at ShopRite and my dazzling personality brought me another 10% off without my asking.  For that she got a “Merry Christmas” and I got an additional smile.  My last stop was at the Pennsylvania General Store for a box of Asher’s dark chocolate salted caramels.  See what I mean about reviewing pleasant events?



This week an older image of mine resurfaced as shared on F/B.  It is some photoshoppery of a fisherman’s or hunter’s shack which marked the entrance to Long Beach Island for many years.  Even before its disappearance in Hurricane Sandy, it had become an icon.  It celebrated one’s arrival for vacation and added poignancy when leaving at the end of vacation.  One year I enhanced an image as more of a winter scene and added a Christmas Tree that lives in several of my images.  I subsequently sold many copies at craft shows and a couple of years ago I uploaded it to the Remember When Long Beach Island F/B page.

The original image was made in February, 2005, and the foreground snow was there.  In 2008 I replaced the sky with the gradient blue fill, and added the falling snow effect and the Christmas Tree.  I had captured the tree at the Pittsburgh Winter Garden in 2001.

Well, it has resurfaced and has accumulated over five hundred “Likes” along the way.  That makes for a warm feeling.

And, it helps one get past that anti-climactic feeling.

Merry Christmas for yesterday and for the future!



P.S.  For more of my peripatetic Christmas Tree, click here.



19 Responses to “AU REVOIR NOËL”

  1. Vince Rossi Says:

    Hi Ralph. Wonderful story and pictures. Belated Merry Christmas to you and your family. Vince and Sue Rossi

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Virginia Rice Says:

    Thank you for the Philly journey.

  3. Jo Ann Morris Says:

    You’re an excellent companion for a stroll down memory lane. Biddle was very surprised and appreciative of his sandpiper photo gift. Thank you for making that possible. In that photo, I especially like the dimension of the foam that you captured. I am recovering from some unexpected surgery and it was so welcome to see the Philly Christmas sights through your eyes,as it has been an inactive holiday for me.
    Best always,
    Jo Ann and Biddle

  4. Jeanne and Tom Says:

    Very nice, Ralph. Very, very nice!!!

  5. Bonnie Rovere Says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip through a Philly Christmas. It was quite enjoyable. Wishing you a very Merry Day After Christmas!

  6. Rich Lewis Says:

    Thanks for your thoughts and story. As an outsider to Christmas, it is always interesting to get some insights. Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year.

  7. Marilyn Flagler Says:

    You have perked up my sagging spirits….as you so aptly said, the decorating is done, the gifts are given and our wonderful, beautiful children, spouses and grandchildren have returned to their homes. I loved your Philadelphia Christmas tour. What a treat to encounter your family. Our hopes and prayers are that you have a healthy and prosperous new Year.

  8. Linda Colgan Says:

    Hi Ralph,
    Well, you’ve made my day after Christmas very happy. I love your narrations as much as your pictures. And the shack and Christmas tree bring back memories that will live on for many years to come. That tree is infamous!
    Thank you for sharing your talent and for being you!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Linda. I appreciate your kind thoughts.
      Every time I see that tree I remember how I almost drove you crazy with its too frequent appearances.
      Best to you and Tony for 2018.

  9. eajackson Says:

    A wonderful walk thru the city. Something I don’t think about doing. Well worth the effort I see. I just love the storefront window with the reflection. Something about the colors. Carry on, Ralph. Keep them coming.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Beth. A pleasure to have you along. I, too, thought the window was a special insight. Best to you and Alan for 2018, and next year shoot from the floor, not the sofas or chairs, or get a taller tripod.

  10. denisebushphoto Says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a city … thank you for sharing the sights! I used to experience the ‘let-down’ you describe. I have scaled back considerably in recent years, not getting caught up in all the over-doing and preparation. Now I enjoy the holidays even more … less work = less let-down! Happy 2018 Ralph!

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