Posted on: 4th December 2011 18:03:48


Welcome to the December Installment —- White Christmas!


White Christmas was chosen for inclusion in the workbook because it fits well into the overall holiday theme of the book.


 In fact, this film is a great companion piece to November’s Holiday Inn, it takes us to the end our year  long musical journey nicely. Holiday Inn begins with White Christmas and this film ends with it -- tying the holidays together as if with a bow.

As with all of the others in the workbook, I love this film. However, my reasons are far more personal than with any of the other films. I have fond memories of decorating the tree with my brothers and sister while this film played in the background.  I also recall some not so fond memories of the tree falling on me during the decorating process while Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen sang “Sisters”  (But that’s a story for another time).

 Enough about me, and my love for the film  -- the reason we are here is to discover whether this film works for my patients/clients/residents.  The answer is yes.

It is during this film that my patients share many of their most treasured memories. Because the action takes place during wartime, many of the gentlemen in the group recall their military service and separations from their families.  The ladies discuss the difficulties they faced during those same separations.  Great conversation comes out here.

As the film progresses and the Haynes Sisters lament the joys of sisterhood in the song “Sisters” great stories of families and sisterly bonds, come to light.

Another great theme in this film is that of friendship.

 In Holiday Inn we discovered Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire only pretended to be friends while trying to out manipulate each other. In this film,  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye truly like each other. In every encounter the audience has the sense that Danny is looking out for Bing. However, Danny does do his fair share of “good natured” manipulation. (He often points to his injured arm, saying, “I wouldn’t want you to feel any special obligation” and gets what he wants).

We find a good deal to talk about when it comes to friendship and getting what you want. It seems that the women in the group are better at it than men!  (Aren’t we supposed to be?)

Speaking of the relationship between men and women. This film is a classic example of what goes wrong when women and men don’t talk about what they think or want. We spend a great deal of time talking about Rosemary Clooney’s attitude toward Bing when she first “overhears” that the Christmas Eve show is going to be televised. She is angry and perhaps justified, but instead of asking about it, she broods, cries and leaves!  In an interview, Clooney herself said, “I overplayed it a little” and was in the end “a big dummy.”  My group and I spend  time discussing what happens when you don’t know the whole story.  Great insights come out here.

As with all the films I find ways to work on word finding, inferences and problem solving (What is K-P? What is Variety?  What does it mean to count your blessings? If you were Rosemary Clooney would you leave without talking to Bing?). 

Exercise aside, this is not only a wonderful way to promote the holiday, but also to promote language, self-expression, long-term and short-term memory during one of most iconic films of all time!

White Christmas brings to a close the inaugural year of blogs at

I hope you have enjoyed them and found them a helpful companion to the workbook. If you have waited to purchase a workbook, I hope these blogs have inspired you make a resolution to start your own group in 2012!

This book is a great part of my clinical practice because I find reminiscing to be such a great tool to further, not only my patients’ language and cognitive abilities, but also their ability to interact with others and share stories about lives well lived. 


Have a Safe and Happy Holiday!


See you in January to  “Swing in the New Year” with Glenn Miller and some new insights into Orchestra Wives.





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