See the White House Christmas celebrations dating back to the 1800s

It's the most beautiful time of the year at the White House.

The West Wing, East Wing and every room in between have been decked out in elaborate decorations to celebrate the holidays, and President Trump and First Lady Melania are preparing to celebrate the holiday with their family. 

This year's official theme is "Time-Honored Traditions," and there have been plenty of traditions through the years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here's a look back at presidential Christmas celebrations, going all the way back to the 1800's:

Celebrating Christmas in the White House
See Gallery
Celebrating Christmas in the White House

The White House halls have been decked for the holidays every December since John and Abigail Adams held the first White House Christmas party in 1800.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress 


Every president has brought their own traditions into the White House. Grover Cleveland, for example, lit up the first Christmas tree inside the White House to the delight of his young daughters.

Photo Credit: White House Historical Association


Calvin Coolidge was the first president to instate a public Christmas celebration at the White House, with the first National Christmas Tree lighting in 1923.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress


The tree lighting ceremony and the president's participation has been a yearly tradition since then.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress


Franklin Roosevelt spent ten consecutive Christmas holidays in the White House and emphasized the importance of family during the holiday season.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress


FDR invited four generations of family into the White House for Christmas. His children and grandchildren enjoyed spending Christmas Eve in the presidential residence to partake in two of Roosevelt's favorite holiday traditions: Hanging stockings and reading, "A Christmas Carol."

Photo Credit: Getty


First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took White House Christmas decorating to a new level when she started selecting holiday themes. In 1962, the White House Christmas tree was decorated with ornaments inspired by children, including candy canes and gingerbread cookies.

Photo Credit: Getty


Despite Jackie's decorating efforts, the Kennedy family chose to celebrate Christmas Day in Palm Beach.

Photo Credit: John F. Kennedy Library

Source: JFK Library

Lyndon B. Johnson and his family stayed in D.C. for the holidays in 1968.

Photo Credit: LBJ Library

Here, the Johnson family poses in front of a Christmas tree in the Yellow Oval Room.

Source: LBJ Library

Christmas in the Nixon White House was a lively affair. First Lady Pat Nixon told 'Empire Magazine' their holiday traditions included the president playing 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' on the piano for friends and family.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia 

Source: Nixon Library

Another Nixon tradition was to decorate their Christmas trees with decorations made by disabled workers. The 1969 tree, dubbed the "American Flower Tree," was decorated with velvet and satin ornaments featuring each state's flower.

Photo Credit: White House Historical Association


Gerald Ford brought two dates to the White House Christmas ball in 1975: his wife Betty and his daughter Susan.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress


Many presidents have included their children and grandchildren in public White House traditions while in office. Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, helped him light his first National Christmas Tree in 1977.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia 

Source: AP

The Reagans really got into the holiday spirit when they lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ronald Reagan dressed up as Santa Claus for a Christmas Eve party in 1983...

Photo Credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library 

Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library 

... and First Lady Nancy Reagan sat on a different Santa's lap.

Pictured: Nancy Regan sitting on Mr. T's lap in 1983.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Source: ABC News

The Reagans also commissioned artists to paint scenes from inside the Executive Mansion during the holiday season for their annual Christmas card. Many presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, have since followed suit.

Photo Credit: Getty

Source: Front Gate

Christmas during the first Bush administration was a family affair. Here, George H.W. Bush shows his grandchildren the Oval Office Christmas tree.

Photo Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Source: CBS News

CAMP DAVID, MD - DECEMBER 25: In this handout image provided by the White House, US President George W. Bush and family gather on Christmas December 25, 2008 at Camp David, Maryland. Seated front row, Lauren Bush, Ashley Bush, Ellie LeBlond, Gigi Koch, Elizabeth Andrews, Marshall Bush, Pace Andrews, Walker Bush. Second row, John E. Bush, George P. Bush, Barbara Bush, Pierce Bush, former US President George H.W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush, President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Jenna Hager, Top row, Mandi Bush, Sam LeBlond, Neil Bush, Ally Bush, Maria Bush, Bobby Koch, Doro Koch, Margaret Bush, Marvin Bush, Columba Bush, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Henry Hager, Noelle Bush, and Robert Koch. (Photo by Eric Draper/The White House via Getty Images)

George Bush Sr. celebrated all four of his Christmas' as president at Camp David, plus eight more holidays while his son was president.

Photo Credit: David Valdez/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Source: Washington Times

The Clinton White House was adorned with plenty of edible decorations. Over the course of several years, the Clinton's enjoyed gingerbread house versions of the Washington Monument, Mount Vernon and even a replica of Hillary's childhood home.

Photo credit: JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images


George W. and Laura Bush celebrated a patriotic themed Christmas in 2008 to commemorate their final Christmas in the White House and the election year.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images


The Bush's "Red, White and Blue Christmas" theme was inspired by letters the president and first lady received after September 11th.

Photo Credit: Eric Draper/White House/Getty Images


The Obamas celebrated friends, family and the freedoms enjoyed by Americans with their 'simple gifts' White House theme.

 Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 

Barack Obama got really into the National Christmas Tree lighting in 2014. The president joined celebrities and Santa Claus on stage for a festive dance.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing 

The official Christmas theme this year in the Trump White House is "Time-Honored Traditions," meant to celebrate 200 years of White House holidays.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Source: Business Insider

"We want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year," Trump said at the National Tree Lighting this year. "Have unbelievable holidays."

Photo Credit: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

Source: Washington Post




See Also:



Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.