Honey left behind a bag full of Christmas gifts… they could fill the Twelve Days of Christmas … and then some. Amazing ” Elves” -Mike and Honey are unbelievable .
One gift she knew I would love…was this year’s ( 2022) White House Christmas Tree ornament. It arrived with all kinds of stories about past and present White House Christmases… ornaments and Christmas cards.
Lately it has been one room that has caught the attention of First Ladies when deciding on the decor and ornaments for a particular Christmas theme. The East Room… packed full of interesting historical tidbits.
The East Room is the largest of the State Rooms in the White House and was the last to be finished. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams, the first couple to occupy the Executive Mansion, hung their laundry to dry in the unfinished East Room.
Then in August of 1814 British troops burned the White House-the scenario when Dolley Madison saved the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. The first funeral services conducted in this room -held for the first President to die in office, William Henry Harrison, followed by Zachary Taylor, and President Abraham Lincoln. Ironically Lincoln loved the East Room… remembering when Tad rode a chair pulled by a goat through it to amuse his father. ( Union soldiers used the East Room as a temporary camp.)
Theodore Roosevelt ‘s administration transformed the East Room from Victorian furnishings to French inspired neoclassical decor. Roosevelt’s children roller skated through the East Room and daughter Alice married in it.
The Truman family moved out during his tenure to renovate rooms including the East Room /later Truman showcased the new East Room on television.
During the Kennedy administration ( 1962) Jackie had an 18th century religious Neapolitan Crèche installed in the East Room against a backdrop of gold curtains. The Nativity scene included men, women, angels, animals, kings, and cherubs arranged in a pyramid shape, symbolic of an evergreen tree.
The following year ( 1963) the Kennedy family chose a photograph of the Crèche in the East Room as the image for their Christmas card. About thirty Crèche cards were signed by the President and First Lady before their late November trip to Dallas. *** Mysteriously these signed thirty cards still suddenly appear on secretive auctions around the country and world.
In reality Christmas 1963 was the saddest holiday as it found Jackie and her two small children quietly leaving their White House home and moving into a friend’s Georgetown rental apartment …made quickly available for them.
Kennedy became the eighth President to die in office-his body lying in repose in the East Room. *** Interesting tidbit… In honor of Kennedy… the following year Lyndon B Johnson signed Kennedy’s Civil Rights Legislation into law ( 1964 Civil Rights Act) in front of live television in the East Room.
President and First Lady, Nancy Reagan hired Thomas William Jones to freely create and paint his impressions of the East Room, State Dining Room, and North Entry Hall… giving recognition to all combined. Hallmark reproduced 125,000 cards and 7,200 gift prints for the Reagan’s sixth Christmas at the White House.
*** Only at Christmas is the Kennedy Crèche on display in the East Room of the White House…
Gold Star Trees honoring fallen soldiers are seen in the East Entrance -start of tour
Star ornaments on the trees recognize the names, rank, and date of death
We the People -theme- is found above the East Wing Entrance
So until tomorrow… May ” Peace and Tranquility” prevail over our country once again… starting with us ” We the People.”
Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh