The White House

The White House

Aside from being the center of government, the White House is also known for its tradition of making spectacular, classic Christmas trees. The tradition of putting up a tree started around the 19th century. The tree followed a themed motif and the First Lady was in charge of planning and decorating the tree.


This was the year that the first Christmas tree was put up in the White House. This tradition of putting up a tree started during the administration ofPresident Franklin Pierce.


This year is credited for being the start of the first official indoor Christmas tree in the White House. It is officially recognized as the year when the current president’s wife decorated the Christmas tree.


During this year, the White House Christmas tree started following a theme or motif. The First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy decorated the White House tree with a Nutcracker suite theme. The tree was made of Balsam Fir and was displayed in the Blue room of the White House.

1965 – 1968

The classic Christmas trees from the year 1965 – 1967 followed an Early American theme. The First Lady Claudia Johnson fashioned the Christmas tree with traditional ornaments like gingerbread cookies, fruits, nuts and wood roses from Hawaii. In 1967, silver stars and baubles were added to the Christmas tree. All trees were displayed in the Blue Room.

In 1968, the tree had a 19th century gingerbread theme and was adorned with gingerbread cookies.

1969 – 1972

The theme of the Christmas tree for these years was American Flower Tree and was decorated by First Lady Pat Nixon. The most prominent ornament for the tree were Christmas balls made of velvet and satin that featured each state’s flower. In 1970, Monroe Fans were added as decoration to the tree. By the 1971, additional gold foil angels adorned the tree.

The year 1972 had a Still Life with Fruit and Nature’s Bounty theme. It had 3000 pastel colored Christmas balls and 150 gold federal stars.

1973 had a gold themed Christmas tree and was created in honor of James Madison.

1974 – 1976

The Christmas trees were designed by then First Lady Betty Ford. 1974 had a Concolor fir tree adorned with ornaments made by Appalachian women and senior citizens groups. The 1975 Christmas tree was a Douglas fir and had an old-fashioned children’s Christmas theme. 1976 had a Balsam fir tree which was decorated with natural ornaments made by the Garden Club of America.

1977 – 1980

The trees and its motifs were thought of by the First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Trees were displayed in the Blue Room of the White House. Each tree had the following theme per year - antique toys theme with Victorian dolls and miniature furniture (1977), American folk art of the colonial period (1978), Victorian theme (1980).

1981 – 1988

All trees from the year 1981 – 1988 were displayed in the Blue Room by the First Lady Nancy Reagan. Tree themes per year are as follows - ornaments from the Museum of American Folk Art (1981), foil paper cones and metallic snowflakes (1982), old-Fashioned toys (1983), ornaments made from plant material (1984), ornaments made from Christmas cards sent to the Reagans (1985), mother Goose theme (1986), musical theme (1987), old fashioned theme with glass ornaments (1988)

1989 – 1992

Trees were designed by First Lady Barbara Bush. The tree in 1989 was a Fraser fir with a family literacy theme. It was a nutcracker suite theme by 1990, a needle work tree theme by 1991 and a tree featuring the different gift giving characters by 1992.

1993 – 2000

The trees during these years had the following themes – angels (1993), the 12 days of Christmas (1994), a visit from St. Nicholas (1995), Nutcracker Suite (1996), Santa's Workshop(1997), Winter Wonderland (1998), Holiday Treasures at the White House (1999), Holiday Reflections (2000). All trees were designed by the First Lady Hillary Clinton and were displayed in the Blue Room.

2001 – 2008

Christmas trees were designed by the First Lady Laura Bush. The themes for the tree were, Home for the Holidays (2001), All Creatures Great and Small (2002),A Season of Stories (2003),A Season of Merriment and Melody (2004),All Things Bright and Beautiful (2005),Deck the Halls and Welcome All (2006), Holiday in the National Parks (2007),A Red, White, and Blue Christmas (2008).

2009 – 2010

In 2009, the Douglas fir Christmas tree had been decorated with redesigned Christmas ornaments from the previous administration. It had a theme entitled Rejoice, Reflect and Renew. The tree featured a local landmark of the different states in the US. By 2010, the Douglas fir Christmas tree had a Gift of the American Spirit theme and featured prize ribbons for different states. All trees were decorated by First Lady Michelle Obama and were displayed in the Blue Room of the White House.