Christmas at the White House goes way back; The first Christmas tree was introduced to the White House in 1889 during the administration of Benjamin Harrison, but First Lady Lou Henry Hoover was the first to decorate an “official” Christmas tree in the Blue Room in 1929. Since , each of the first ladies continued the tradition. Here, a look at the White House Christmas decorations over the years.
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Visitors watched Christmas decorations go up in the East Room, while President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had another tree erected on the second floor of the White House for his family.
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In 1935, members of President Roosevelt’s staff decorated the exterior with simple Christmas trees.
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President Roosevelt posed with family members outside the White House before leaving for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
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FDR and his family are seen here on the South Lawn of the White House on Christmas Day before going to church services.
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President Roosevelt posed with his family in front of the White House Christmas tree, decorated with long strands of tinsel.
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The Roosevelts had many Christmas traditions, including lighting their tree with real candles and FDR himself reading Charles Dickens’ book Christmas song to his family, according to FDR’s butler, Alonzo Fields.
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In the middle of World War II, Winston Churchill came to America to spend Christmas with the Roosevelts at the White House and discuss how to defeat Hitler.
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President Dwight Eisenhower posed with his family during the holiday season outside the White House.
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The Eisenhowers held the record for the most Christmas trees in the White House – 26 – for years, a number that has been eclipsed several times in recent decades.
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Just before Christmas in 1958, President Eisenhower gathered his family in front of the Christmas trees outside for a portrait.
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President Eisenhower gathered his loved ones for a photo in front of a Christmas tree decorated with silver tinsel.
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First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy started the tradition of choosing themes for the White House Christmas decorations each year. In 1961, she decorated the official Christmas tree with ornaments representing characters from the ballet “Nutcracker Suite”.
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On his last Christmas, President Kennedy posed for an informal family portrait with his wife, children, dogs, as well as his brother and sister-in-law and their family.
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A banner that declared “Peace on Earth to Men of Good Will” framed the South Lawn during the Johnson administration.
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UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his wife Mary Wilson visited the White House just before Christmas in 1965. Here, Lady Bird Johnson and her husband show them the White House Christmas tree, decorated with popcorn strands and an eclectic mix of ornaments.
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Lady Bird decorated the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room with a colorful mix of ornaments and sprigs of popcorn, as was popular in the late 60s.
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Even the dogs got their own Christmas tree under the Nixon administration. Pasha, Tricia Nixon’s Yorkshire terrier, posed in the White House library with Vicki, Julie Eisenhower’s miniature poodle, and King Timahoe, President Nixon’s Irish setter.
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First Lady Pat Nixon decorated the White House Christmas tree in 1970 with tinsel and glass ornaments.
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President Nixon posed for a family portrait in front of a tinsel-decorated Christmas tree in the Blue Room with his wife, two daughters, and their husbands.
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Pat decorated the Cross Hall of the White House in 1972 with holly and artificial Christmas trees.
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Shortly after becoming the First Lady of the United States, Betty Ford took charge of the White House Christmas decorations in 1974. In 1974, she decorated the main tree in the Blue Room with large ribbons and a mixture of traditional ornaments.
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She opted for a homey look in 1975 when she decorated the White House Christmas tree with sprigs of popcorn, wooden ornaments and paper chains.
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Betty showed the press two dove ornaments before hanging them on the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room in 1976.
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Rosalynn Carter decorated the Blue Room Christmas tree with a colorful array of ornaments and white twinkling lights.
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For her second White House Christmas, Rosalynn decorated a 20-foot Christmas tree with gold ornaments and surrounded the bottom with antique toys and a miniature house.
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For their first White House Christmas, President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, posed for a photo in the executive mansion’s living quarters in front of a tree decorated with sprigs of popcorn, tinsel and a mix of ornaments.
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Nancy decorated the main White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room with white lights, gold ornaments and a host of angels.
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In 1983, Mr. T, from the television show Jhe-Teamdressed as Santa Claus to help Nancy unveil the White House Christmas decorations.
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For her “Old-Fashioned Turn-of-the-Century Christmas” decorating theme in 1985, Nancy had Larry Hagman, from the TV show dallasdress up as Santa Claus for the White House press tour.
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President Reagan and Nancy posed for a formal portrait in front of the 18.5-foot Fraser fir tree from Eric and Gloria Sundback’s farm in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The Sundbacks would not provide another official White House Christmas tree until 2009, when a Douglas fir from their farm was chosen as the Obamas’ tree.
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