plan a expedition to, DC this December? friend wouldn't be the “first family” to spend the holidays here.

Holidays in ~ the White house are a household affair…with countless guests. Each December, the president and also their family deck the White House’s halls and opens the doors for dozens that parties and public tours. The a huge job to prepare the country’s most well known residence for a month the celebrations. In fact, it takes around 400 employee members and also volunteers to decorate the public rooms. From numerous Christmas tree to a 300-pound white coco replica of the White House, the first Lady and also her staff devote lot of December come decorating and also entertaining guest from all across the country.

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Anthony Quintano

Over the years, White house holidays have evolved from an intimate family members affair in the exclusive quarters come the national celebration the it is today. But through it all, part heart-warming traditions have developed and endured. See how the holidays have readjusted over the years, then to compare them come your own family’s traditions.

1834, An indoor snowball fight:, DC doesn’t constantly get a white Christmas, yet President Andrew Jackson made certain to remedy that with fancy Christmas party he threw because that his children and also grandchildren. It included games, dancing, a cool dinner and also culminated in an indoor “snowball fight” with specially fashioned noodle balls. Today, the White home remains a an especially magical place for children at Christmas. School groups and also other youth-oriented public organizations room invited to participate in countless of the vacation parties and fill up on delicious holiday treats all set by the White home chef.

1889, The an initial Tree:

Prior come the 20th century, Christmas at the White house was commemorated privately. The first White home Christmas tree, pre-electricity, to be decorated with candles and also toys and also placed in president Benjamin Harrison’s living quarters.

1903, A ‘Green’ Christmas:

Noted conservationist chairman Theodore Roosevelt didn’t believe in cutting under trees for Christmas decorations. Instead, the threw a carnival because that 500 kids complete with dinner, dancing, souvenirs and also Santa-shaped ice cream. However, Roosevelt’s boy Archie defied the Christmas tree ban and smuggled a little tree into an maximum ground sewing room. Today, the environmentally familiar tradition proceeds with the nationwide Christmas Tree. Rather of acquiring a brand-new tree every year, a fir tree planted on the White home Ellipse is redecorated every year. In addition, the nationwide Tree is decorated v energy effective LED lights.

1909, A ‘Blue’ Christmas:

President william H. Taft was the first president to have a tree in the public section of the White House. His children helped him decorate that an initial tree in the Blue Room. Today, the Blue Room still hosts the official tree (one of countless trees in the White House) and many presidents and their family members have posed in prior of it because that their main Christmas photo.

1923, A nationwide Tree:

President Calvin Coolidge broadened the celebration past the Blue Room with the light of the an initial National Christmas Tree, located outside the White house in a public viewing area. The celebration came to be the month-long Pageant of tranquility following world War II and the oriental War together a way to commemorate the finish of the wars. Today, the light of the nationwide Christmas Tree and the Pageant of tranquility on the White house Ellipse is the centerpiece of the holidays in, DC. The very first Family officially lights the nationwide Tree in a distinct ceremony. For the remainder the the month visitors can enjoy nightly musical entertainment, visit Santa’s Workshop and explore the miniature Christmas trees each featuring homemade ornaments from all 50 states, the district of Columbia and also U.S. Territories.


1961, A Camelot Christmas:

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of picking a design template for the main White home Christmas tree. That very first year she selected the “Nutcracker Suite” – a renowned theme. Very first ladies Barbara Bush and also Hillary Clinton both revisited the theme in later years. Tourists who to visit a White residence holiday party or go on a public tour have actually the opportunity to check out the main tree, and the decorations in about 10 other rooms. A commemorative routine highlights the decorations in each room and also their significance. Due to the fact that the White home hosts therefore many human being during the holidays, plenty of a family has do in former of the main Christmas Tree because that their really own holiday photo.

nationwide Menorah on the national Mall in, DC - cost-free things to carry out this winter in, DC

1979, The an initial National Menorah:

President Jimmy Carter was the very first to officially identify the Jewish vacation of Hanukkah when he lit the nation’s an initial National Menorah. Today, the presidential lighting ceremony continues and the nationwide Menorah is part of the Pageant that Peace.

1995, A cacao Christmas:

A to mark of the holiday decorations has become the white chocolate replica that the White House. A tradition since the 1960s, this day visitors will discover this delicious architecture feat, which have the right to weigh as much as 300 pounds and also take month to create, displayed in the State Dining Room. In 1995, the White home pastry chef likewise created a replica of an initial Lady Hillary Clinton’s girlhood home on Wisner Street in Park Ridge, Ill. No detail was left unturned, including tiny fall hung through the chimney v care.

2008, A Red, White and also Blue Christmas:

While the very first Lady choose the main holiday theme, she is regularly inspired by American citizens. In 2008, an initial Lady Laura bush selected a patriotic template after receiving numerous letters arguing the White house make that a red, white and also blue Christmas to identify the country patriotic pride throughout war time.

Obama family members at nationwide Christmas Tree lighting - Presidential first Family vacation Traditions

2010, an easy Gifts:

For their 2nd holiday season at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the first Lady Michelle Obama chose the layout of “Simple Gifts.” In lieu of material gifts, the Obamas decided to celebrate your friends and family that lug joy throughout the holidays. The very first lady stated, “The greatest blessings the all space the ones the don’t expense a thing: the moment that we spend with our love ones, the free we gain as Americans and also the delight we feel from getting to out come those in need.”

How come visit the nationwide Christmas Tree:

The national Christmas Tree and Christmas Pathway of peace are displayed on the White home Ellipse, i m sorry is located just south that the White House and north of the national Mall. Travel by Metrorail is the best method to see the tree, which is within walking distance from the complying with stops: commonwealth Triangle, Farragut North, McPherson Square and also Metro Center.

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For more information ~ above visiting the national Christmas Tree and the Pageant the Peace, visit