It’s the most beautiful time of the year at the White House.
The West Wing, East Wing and every room in between have been decked out in elaborate decorations to celebrate the holidays, and President Trump and First Lady Melania are preparing to celebrate the holiday with their family.
This year’s official theme is “Time-Honored Traditions,” and there have been plenty of traditions through the years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here’s a look back at presidential Christmas celebrations, going all the way back to the 1800’s.
The White House halls have been decked for the holidays every December since John and Abigail Adams held the first White House Christmas party in 1800.
Every president has brought their own traditions into the White House. Grover Cleveland, for example, lit up the first Christmas tree inside the White House to the delight of his young daughters.
Calvin Coolidge was the first president to instate a public Christmas celebration at the White House, with the first National Christmas Tree lighting in 1923.
The tree lighting ceremony and the president’s participation has been a yearly tradition since then.
Franklin Roosevelt spent ten consecutive Christmas holidays in the White House and emphasised the importance of family during the holiday season.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took White House Christmas decorating to a new level when she started selecting holiday themes. In 1962, the White House Christmas tree was decorated with ornaments inspired by children, including candy canes and gingerbread cookies.
Despite Jackie’s decorating efforts, the Kennedy family chose to celebrate Christmas Day in Palm Beach.
Source: JFK Library
Lyndon B. Johnson and his family stayed in D.C. for the holidays in 1968.
Here, the Johnson family poses in front of a Christmas tree in the Yellow Oval Room.
Source: LBJ Library
Christmas in the Nixon White House was a lively affair. First Lady Pat Nixon told ‘Empire Magazine’ their holiday traditions included the president playing ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ on the piano for friends and family.
Source: Nixon Library
Another Nixon tradition was to decorate their Christmas trees with decorations made by disabled workers. The 1969 tree, dubbed the “American Flower Tree,” was decorated with velvet and satin ornaments featuring each state’s flower.
Gerald Ford brought two dates to the White House Christmas ball in 1975: his wife Betty and his daughter Susan.
Many presidents have included their children and grandchildren in public White House traditions while in office. Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, helped him light his first National Christmas Tree in 1977.
The Reagans really got into the holiday spirit when they lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ronald Reagan dressed up as Santa Claus for a Christmas Eve party in 1983…
… and First Lady Nancy Reagan sat on a different Santa’s lap.
Source: ABC News
Christmas during the first Bush administration was a family affair. Here, George H.W. Bush shows his grandchildren the Oval Office Christmas tree.
Source: CBS News
George W. and Laura Bush celebrated a patriotic themed Christmas in 2008 to commemorate their final Christmas in the White House and the election year.
We want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year,” Trump said at the National Tree Lighting this year. “Have unbelievable holidays.”
Source: Washington Post
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