Double Take: Christmas Tradition

While recently browsing through the National Photo Company collection, I paused when I saw this photograph.

Dickey Christmas tree, 1913. Photo by National Photo Company, 1913. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.31259

Dickey Christmas tree, 1913. Photo by National Photo Company, 1913. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.31259

My first thought was “what happened to the top of the tree?” After puzzling about the tree for a while, I looked closer at the gathering of the Dickey family. I had to smile as I have been in many family portraits where it has proved an impossible task to get all the children to look at the camera with happy faces.

In my curiosity, I searched further and I was amazed to find the National Photo Company took Christmas photographs of this family for the next 10 years!

Raymond Dickey, Christmas Tree, 1915. Photo by National Photo Company, 1915. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.32422

Raymond Dickey, Christmas Tree, 1915. Photo by National Photo Company, 1915. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.32422

Dickey Christmas tree, 1918. Photo by National Photo Company, 1918. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.33126

Dickey Christmas tree, 1918. Photo by National Photo Company, 1918. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.33126

I think I am fascinated by these photographs because despite the awkward-sized trees and the amusing facial expressions, they epitomize the spirit of holiday tradition and gathering with family. The 1923 photograph below was the last taken in the series of the Dickey family. The parents have aged and the children have grown, but the ritual of taking a Christmas tree photograph remains the same.

Dickey Christmas tree, 1923. Photo by National Photo Company, 1923. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.30612

Dickey Christmas tree, 1923. Photo by National Photo Company, 1923. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.30612

Do you have any treasured holiday traditions?

Christmas Puck / Frank A. Nankivell 1906. Print by Frank Nankivell, December 5, 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.26118

Christmas Puck / Frank A. Nankivell 1906. Print by Frank Nankivell, December 5, 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.26118

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