There's not a lot of info about this photo in the Life magazine online archive. It's titled "Shantyman's Christmas," and it was part of a series of photos shot for Life by George Silk in 1953.
A shantyman is a sailor who leads the crew in sing-alongs. The word is derived from the French word "chanter," which means "to sing."
There's no info about where Silk shot this photo. I'm guessing maybe New England. What is clear, however, is that the captain and his crew or family are decorating his small craft for Christmas.