Christmas in the White House

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larry cottrill
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Christmas in the White House

Post by larry cottrill » Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:58 pm

Christmas traditions of US Presidents over the years -- history and trivia, some amusing: ... p?id=19192

My favorite tidbits (probably because they are from my era ;-):

Dwight & Mamie Eisenhower (1953-1961)

Unlike other Presidents who distinguished political from household staff, the Eisenhowers brought both together (more than 500 in all) for a Christmas party each year. For the White House staff, Mamie purchased gifts in area department stores, personally wrapping each one to save money.

President Eisenhower took a personal interest in the gifts and cards that were sent from the White House. Ike was an artist in his own right and allowed six of his own paintings to be used as Christmas gifts and cards during his administration. In eight years, Hallmark produced a prodigious 38 different Christmas cards and gift prints for the President and First Lady. No previous administration, nor any since Eisenhower’s, has sent such a variety of holiday greetings from the White House.

For the Christmas of 1958, Mamie pulled out all the stops in decorating the White House. She had 27 decorated trees, carols were piped into every room and greenery was wrapped around every column.

John & Jacqueline Kennedy (1961-1963)

In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree. She decorated a tree placed in the oval Blue Room with ornamental toys, birds and angels modeled after Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

The first card to contain an explicitly religious element was in 1963, which featured a photo of a crèche set up in the East Room of the White House. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, had signed 30 cards before their final trip to Dallas where he was assassinated. None of these cards were ever mailed.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

L Cottrill

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