White House Christmas Traditions

Cultural traditions include events, rituals and customs that a society shares. We are all familiar with tradition, either with family or in any setting of our lives. The White House many Christmas traditions that started many years ago, and throughout those years they have changed in some ways and have grown for other Presidents to keep following as time goes on. Some of the greatest presidents of all time have started traditions that still continue to this day.   The tradition of a publicly placed tree first started with President William H Taft putting up a Christmas tree in the Blue Room, which has remained the location of the official White House Christmas tree ever since. There are 41 Christmas trees throughout the White House. Approximately 6,000 feet of ribbon, over 300 candles, and over 10,000 ornaments were used this year to decorate the White House. Over 78,750 holiday lights decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths, and displays in the White House. Not only was this the first White House “community” Christmas tree, but it was the first to be decorated with electric lights–a strand of 2,500 red, white and green bulbs. The balsam fir came from Coolidge’s home state of Vermont and stood 48 feet tall. At one point a president actually banned Christmas trees. Theodore Roosevelt’s commitment to conservation is well known. Less well known was the 26th president’s ill-fated attempt to ban Christmas trees at the White House. Why? So many trees were cut down for the holidays, he believed, that it was contributing to deforestation—and he wanted to set an example for the country. Now that we have went over some of the old traditions lets dive into the new ones that happen today.

Christmas today

Aside from the normal tree ceremony and decorating the White House this year under Biden and his wife Jill they have decorated each room with a lovely theme, and have done a great job! We will go through each room and discuss how they designed each.

East Wing (Gift of Service) in this room you will see things that represent uncommon acts of compassion, bravery, and selflessness that so many have shown over the past couple of years. In the room you see iridescent doves and shooting stars these represent the peace and light that has been brought to us by service members and front line workers and the first responders during the covid pandemic.

East Landing (Gold Star Tree) This tree is in honor of all of the military who serve our great country. And also to honor their families who share their loved ones with us so they can continue to serve the country.

Library (Gift of Learning) This year has been tough on all of us with the pandemic, and the education system took a huge hit. This room is to honor learning and all of the teachers and staff. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated this room to serve as the White House Library in 1935. This space now holds approximately 2,700 volumes of books, focusing primarily on American history and literature. Now this year the room is filled with butterflies and more books and they are made of newspapers .

Vermeil Room (Gift of the Visual Arts) This room is very colorful and filled with art. The room is full of bright, bold, colorful paint brushes and paint swatches, representing the diverse American artists whose talents bring delight to all.

China Room (Gift of Friendship and Sharing) This room is meant to encourage you to share love and laughter with those that you love the most this holiday season. So you can build memories to look back on. After the last two years we have all had with barely being able to see the ones we hold dear it is a heart felt room.

East Room (Gift of Gratitude) The White House wants to restore the nation with all the broken that has happened. symbolized by small acts of kindness and handwritten notes, full of grateful reflection. Whether it is penning a thank you card, sending a sweet text with a heart emoji, or dropping off muffins on a neighbor’s front porch, these expressions of gratitude heal our hearts and bring us together.

There are many of the rooms of the White House that hold significant meaning to the year and all that the pandemic has brought us. The First Lady did an incredible job with her ideas and getting the thousands of volunteers to help her make her visions come to life this Christmas Season.

Capitol Express Tours ; Showing you through the Nation's Capitol

Although it is nearly impossible to be able to see the White house due to the pandemic, you can see the outside which is also decorated. If you are interested in booking a guided tour they will be able to tell you about all the amazing decorations they White House has for Christmas this year and take you to all the hot spots around the Nation’s Capitol. Book your guided tour today to ensure that you get all of the holiday magic!