White House White Christmas
Let us look at the past Christmas traditions in the White House, (and where they will lead us).
The year is coming to an end and Christmas Eve is at the door. The White House, being one of the most influential places in the world for the past decades harbours many interesting facts - and its rich Christmas tradition is one of them.
The first Christmas party that was held in the White House was in December, 1800. President John Adams and the First Lady, Abigail Adams, invited officials and their children to celebrate with them.
In the 19th century Christmas celebrations were not the lavish affairs they are today. Generally, the White House and its interiors were decorated with garlands, wreaths and Christmas ornaments, and the holiday was celebrated quietly.
In the 1830s, President Andrew jackson organised a frolic for the children, which included games, dancing and a spectacular dinner after which a cotton-made snowball fight was held.
In the late 1890s, President Benjamin Harrison, placed the first Christmas tree in the Second Floor Oval Room, which back then served as a family parlour and a library. Harrison cared to impress his grand children by decorating the tree with candles, toys and rich ornaments.
Generally, the way Christmas was celebrated in the White House depended on whether the First Family had children or grandchildren; sometimes the First Family simply did not spend Christmas in the White House.
Electricity has first been installed in the White House in 1891. In 1894 President Grover Cleveland delighted his granddaughters with with decorations including red, white and blue lightbulbs.
President Theodore Roosevelt and the First Lady, Edith Roosevelt, hosted a carnival during the 1903 Christmas season for 500 children!
The first Christmas tree, which stood in the Blue Room was placed there in 1912 by President William H. Taft’s children. The Tafts spent Christmas in Panama that year, but left a Christmas tree at the White House as a surprise for President Taft siblings.
Alonzo Fields, butler to President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote in his Memoir: “They always braved the hazards of fire by having a Christmas tree lighted with candles in the East Hall. The family tradition included reading of Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol by the president. The gathering of the family with the President and Mrs. Roosevelt, the president's mother, the children and grandchildren made a comely family group of four generations.”
First Lady Jackie Kennedy selected a decorative theme since Christmas of 1961, such as the figures from the „Nutcracker Suite” ballet.
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration installed 26 trees in the White House for Christmas of 1959.
Bill Clinton’s Administration trumped (pun intended) the 1959 record by installing 36 trees in 1997.
George W. Bush’s Administration installed 27 trees in 2008 (Obama's Administration installed a whopping 63).
First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Simple Gifts saying, that, "The greatest blessings of all are the ones that don't cost a thing: the time that we spend with our loved ones,…”
Since 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association http://realchristmastrees.org holds an annual competition for the official White House Blue Room tree; this includes regional and state competitions. Notably, this year’s White House Christmas tree competition has been won by Larry Smith, a Christmas tree retailer since 1980, from Mountain Top Fraser Fir in Newland, North Carolina.
The Obama family's White House was decorated by event planner Bryan Rafanelli, and by numbers the decorations break down like this:
(i) 56 gingerbread houses have been made with more than 200,000 Lego bricks;
(ii) There were 65,000 ornaments;
(iii) 6-feet tall and 8-feet tall replicas of President Obama's dogs were fashioned from 25,000 yarn pom-poms;
(iv) +8,000 bows in the East Entrance of the White House;
(v) 7,500 strands of ribbon;
(vi) +1,245 feet of garland;
(vii) 109 wreaths;
(viii) 63 Christmas trees, will Trump trump this?
(ix) 32 snow men; and, last but not least,
(x) the 18-foot Christmas tree in the Blue Room.
This year First Lady, Melania Trump, has themed the White House Christmas decorations after „America’s unique heritage”, (euphemistically, I may add) titled American Treasures: „This is a joyous time of year when we decorate the White House for the Christmas Season. Our theme honors the heart and spirit of the American people. Thank you to the many volunteers and staff who worked hard to decorate the halls of the People’s House in Christmas cheer. On behalf of my family, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” said Melania Trump.
It looks like the First Family is trying its best to make good on the promise to bring back Christmas. Remember Trump's campaign promise?
„The word Christmas, I love Christmas. I love Christmas, you go to stores and you don’t see the word Christmas, it says happy holidays, all over, and where’s Christmas? I tell my wife don’t go to those stores. I wanna see Christmas. No! I wanna see Christmas. And, you know other people can have their holidays… But Christmas is Christmas, I wanna see Merry Christmas, remember the expression Merry Christmas?! You don’t see it anymore! You’re gonna see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now. I can tell you right now.” the crowd loved it.
But how good can it get when you have the accounting fraud of the millennium being uncovered by MSU scholars as we speak? Can the US government really get away with an unaccounted $21 trillion? This is what one trillion US Dollars looks like 1,000,000,000,000. The White House has a hole twenty-one times that size.
So, prepare some warm milk with honey, take your freshly baked gingerbread cookies, sit comfortably in on your couch and play this interview to find out just how interesting Christmas at the White House will be this year: