White House Christmas Tree Themes

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The upstairs Oval Room during the Harrison administration

The upstairs Oval Room during the Harrison administration.
Frances B. Johnston, Library of Congress

On the morning of December 25, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison gathered his family around the first indoor White House Christmas tree. It stood in the upstairs oval room, branches adorned with lit candles. First Lady Caroline Harrison, an artist, helped decorate the tree. As our nation's hostess, she set the stage for what would eventually become a much-beloved holiday tradition.

Not all White House families after the Harrisons set up interior Christmas trees. First Lady Grace Coolidge had them in the 1920s, but it was First Lady Lou Henry Hoover who started the as yet unbroken custom. In 1929, she oversaw the decoration of the first "official" tree. Since that time, the honor of trimming the principle White House Christmas tree has belonged to our first ladies.

Related History:

»  Historic Photographs › Holiday Cheer at the White House

»  Historical Theme › The Holiday Season at the White House

»  First Families and Christmas Celebrations

»  A Brief History of White House Christmas Traditions

The Coolidge's 1927 Christmas Card
The Coolidge's 1927 Christmas Card