Christmas is widely considered to be the largest holiday in America. Today, it is estimated that around 65% percent of Americans identify as Christian, and even those who come from a different religious background often find themselves celebrating Christmas in some way. At the beginning of December, people start getting ready for the massive holiday by purchasing gifts for loved ones, preparing delicious Christmas dinner recipes, and, of course, decorating.
While some people simply opt to put up an elegant Christmas tree in their house, others choose to go all out with their decorations. From glittering indoor displays to fantastic outdoor light shows, everybody has their own unique way of decorating for the holidays. Many people feel more festive and excited for Christmas when they decorate elaborately for the holiday, while others do so out of tradition. Precious ornaments and other decor are often passed down from generation to generation, making Christmas a holiday of celebrating years past, as well.
Christmas decorations also have ancient and colorful histories. For example, the Christmas tree we used today likely came from 16th century Germany, when families would erect small pine trees in their homes and decorate them with apples, nuts, and candles. Once this tradition was brought to America by German immigrants, it began to catch on quickly. In 1840, Christmas tree ornaments were invented, and suddenly decorating for Christmas became far more fashionable. Surprisingly, many traditional Christmas decorations, such as the Yule log, actually have historically Pagan origins.
As you can see, Christmas decorations have an incredibly rich history. Today, people are always finding new ways to put a unique spin on these decorations, creating a Christmas all their own. Of course, decorating for Christmas isn’t just for regular families across the country. One ancient tradition of the White House involves decorating for the holiday, as well. The tradition began in 1800, when President John Adams and First Lady Abigail held the first Christmas party ever in the White House. At first, Christmas decorations in the White House consisted of a few simple Christmas trees, as well as a wreath or garland here and there. Over time, however, the decorations have become more elaborate.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at some of the ways former U.S. Presidents have decorated the White House. While most of these decorations have captured the warm spirit of Christmas perfectly, the most recent decorations have a different air. Make sure you stick around, because we’re going to reveal the scary way that First Lady Melania Trump chose to decorate the White House this Christmas!
President Franklin D Roosevelt
President Franklin D Roosevelt deeply loved the holiday season, and used Christmas at the White House as an opportunity to spread cheer to all. He and his family celebrated a host of rich Christmas traditions. The family would light the indoor tree with real candles and host a Christmas day church service. President Franklin D Roosevelt would also read a copy of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol to his family.
In 1941, however, tragedy struck after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. America swiftly entered World War II, and it was an uncertain time for all Americans. Still, President Roosevelt honored his old Christmas traditions, and decided to invite Winston Churchill to share the holiday with his family at the White House.
Melania Trump’s Scary Christmas Decorations for 2020
At first glance, there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary about Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations this year. Instead, the generic trees and train set all seem rather boring and uninspired. While Melania Trump may have gotten backlash for her bright red Christmas trees and other bold decor in years past, at least she was daring. This year, however, the Christmas decorations lack originality as well as that inherent coziness and warmth that most decorations provide.
But if you look more closely, you’ll see that the Red Room has been filled with black urns containing foliage from each of the fifty states. A cute idea on the surface, but far more sinister when you think about it. After a devastating year filled with loss all over the country, Melania Trump’s black urns serve as a reminder of the loss and fear we’ve all experienced this year.
President John F Kennedy
President John F Kennedy’s wife, First Lady Jacqueline, began the tradition of using themes to decorate for Christmas. During the family’s first Christmas in the White House in 1961, she chose the theme “Nutcracker Suite” and used ornaments from the popular ballet to decorate the tree.
1962 would be a wonderful Christmas for the Kennedy family. Jacqueline had already been praised for her redecorating skills around the White House, and her tasteful choice for Christmas in 1962 was very popular. Sadly, it would also be the family’s final Christmas together, as President Kennedy would be tragically assassinated before next Christmas.
President Lyndon B Johnson
In 1967, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson chose a rather informal decorating style. While it was not quite as classy as previous Christmas decorations, the popcorn strands and wild colors certainly gave the White House an air of homeliness. Surprisingly, President Lyndon B Johnson actually preferred to spend Christmas in Texas, where he and his family owned a ranch. Lady Bird Johnson was able to convince him to spend a single Christmas in the White House, however, and the whole family enjoyed that once in a lifetime opportunity.
President Bill Clinton
First Lady Hillary Clinton took great delight in preparing for the holidays. For her first Christmas in the White House, in 1993, she decorated the tree with a mix of fun and classy ornaments. She also had a gingerbread model of the White House made, and even dressed up her cat, Socks, in a red ribbon so he would match the color scheme.
In 1994, Hillary Clinton took donations from school children and professional artists across the country, who sent in hand made decorations. The following year, the decorations were provided by needlepointers, embroiderers, and architects.
While decorating the White House for Christmas has been the job of the First Lady for many years, this wasn’t always the case. Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re going to reveal which First Lady began the tradition. And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!
President Barack Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama wasted no time in decorating the White House with an environmentally conscious theme which she dubbed, “Reflect, Rejoice, Renew.” She used the more environmentally friendly LED lights on the Christmas tree, and even had six new trees replanted to make up for the trees used in the White House.
In 2011, the Obamas used the theme “Shine, Give, and Share,” which honored military families. They decorated the tree with military medals, as well as donated Christmas cards which had been provided by children living on military bases all over the world.
President George H.W. Bush
First Lady Barbara Bush selected the theme of “family literacy” in 1989, and chose to decorate the White House Christmas tree with various dolls and characters from children’s books. The Executive Residence staff was charged with the creation of 80 different dolls and soft sculptures, which Barbara Bush then placed meticulously on the tree.
President Gerald Ford
1974 was the first year President Gerald Ford and his family spent Christmas at the White House. First Lady Betty Ford decided to keep things humble and classy this year, and chose ribbons and classic ornaments to adorn the Blue Room tree. The following year, however, she decided to decorate in a less formal way. She used popcorn strands, paper chains, and wooden ornaments, which created a cozy and homely end result.
President George Bush
The attacks of 9-11 left the entire country shaken, and even months later, the White House did not allow guests to visit and tour the decorations. As a result, First Lady Laura Bush chose the theme “Home for the Holidays,” explaining that, “both home and family have special meaning to all Americans.” This poignant theme reminded Americans how important family connections are, even in the wake of such disaster.
President Herbert Hoover
In 1929, President Herbert Hoover established a brand new tradition. The duty of decorating the White House Christmas tree was given to First Lady Lou Henry. Funnily enough, that very Christmas Eve, the family threw such a wild party that the White House caught on fire and nearly burned down! Still, the tradition stuck, and First Ladies have been decorating the White House for Christmas ever since.
There is a lot of rich history and tradition surrounding the Christmas decor of the White House. Some people have disliked First Lady Melania Trump’s choice of decoration, while others see no problem with it. Do you think this year’s Christmas decorations are as scary as some people are saying, or do you think there’s nothing wrong with them? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!