The White House Christmas tree is a tradition that dates back to 1889. The very first Christmas tree in the White House was when Benjamin Harrison lived there. It was displayed in the Oval Room on the second floor. The Harrison White House Christmas tree was decorated with lit candles. This very first simple Christmas tree displayed in the White House has transformed into a treasured, national tradition. The national Christmas tradition didn't take off right away, however. Not all of the presidential families displayed Christmas trees during the holidays. The event became official with the 1929 White House Christmas tree. First Lady Lou Henry Hoover was in charge of the decorations for the Christmas tree in the White House. Since then, decorating the White House Christmas tree has become an honor bestowed upon the First Ladies.
|The Bushes II|
The Bushes I
The first White House Christmas tree to display electric lights instead of candles was in 1895. First Lady Frances Cleveland decided to bring the Christmas tree in the White House up to modern standards by decorating it with the popular electric Christmas tree lights.
First Lady Jackie Kennedy started the White House Christmas tree tradition of decorating with a specific theme in mind. There have been many White House Christmas tree themes over the years. Jackie Kennedy's selected theme was inspired by the popular Christmas ballet, "Nutcracker Suite". She decorated the 1961 Christmas tree with candy canes, toy ornaments, and tiny gift packages. The ornaments were made by American craftsmen that were disabled or senior citizens
The White House Christmas tree tradition has evolved somewhat over the years. Today, the First Lady selects a theme for the White House Christmas tree. Then American artists think up ways so decorate the Christmas tree for the White House. Each year, the National Christmas Tree Association presents the official White House Christmas tree that is displayed in the Blue Room. This has been a tradition since 1966.