December Across the Smithsonian Collections

It’s December, which of course means the beginning of the holiday season.

Festive décor starts to appear in store windows (or, let’s be honest, these days it starts going up in late October . . .).

East Baltimore Documentary Survey Project, ca. 1975, Elinor Cahn, Gelatin silver print, Smithsonian

And the parties really get into full swing.

Untitled (Percival Bryan and his wife pose at a holiday celebration), c. 1944, by Oscar, Gelatin sil

I want to go to whatever party they’re going to (top hats and tulle—swanky!)

The holiday cards start rolling in.

Holiday card from Joe Netro and group of identified boxers, Unknown date, Unknown photographer/creat

Season’s Greetings—I weigh 160 and I’ll knock you out!

Santa Claus makes appearances at the mall, or in this case, in the hills of Appalachia.

Appalshop, Inc. Photo Survey Project, Date unknown, by Lyn Adams, Gelatin silver print, Smithsonian

Retailers start in with the advertising mania.

Christmas gift ideas for men : color advertisement, 1977, Sibleys (advertiser), Archives Center, Smi

Hey guys . . . wanna mustachioed beer stein?

No, really, everyone exploits taps into the spirit of the season!

That Ivory Look: so clear..so fresh..so easily yours (Print advertisement), Ladies Home Journal, 195

Sometimes the pleasures of Christmas last all year round . . .

(Egg Nog and Hot Toddys all the time? Count me in!)

The Christmas Bar, 1974, by Robert DAlessandro, gelatin silver print on paper image, Smithsonian Ame

But most of us it’s all a lead up to that one time of year when far-flung friends and family to gather at the hearth and table to talk and celebrate . . .

Ethel Leach and friends, Christmas, 1944, by Orville Houghton Peets, Photographic print, Smithsonian

Or for the young (and young at heart), a time to anticipate what magical thing might soon be waiting under the tree.

George Scurlock on Christmas morning, Date unknown, by Scurlock Studio (Washington, D.C.), Color pho

(Super awesome Mickey Mouse guitar anyone?)

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Smithsonian Photography Initiative!

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