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Rubenstein Center Scholarship

Our 2015 Ornament Design Inspiration

President Coolidge and the First Christmas Tree Lighting

The Coolidges celebrated their first Christmas in the White House in 1923 quietly with their sons, Calvin Jr. and John, who were both home from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.

In 1923, President Coolidge became the first chief executive to preside over a public celebration of the Christmas holidays. At 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the president pressed a button and lit strings of more than 2,500 electric bulbs on the National Christmas Tree — a 60-foot tall fir placed on the Ellipse as a gift from his native Vermont Middlebury College. At the Coolidges’ invitation, more than 6,000 people then arrived on the White House grounds to sing Christmas carols with the choir of the First Congregational Church and enjoy the music of the U.S. Marine Band.

Since 1954, the Christmas Pageant of Peace has been held annually on the Ellipse and respects the holiday worship of all faiths, in addition to featuring the National Christmas Tree lighting.

President Coolidge lights the National Tree.

Library of Congress

This year, the White House Historical Association's Official 2015 White House Christmas Ornament honors 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and the first National Christmas Tree lighting. The 2015 ornament design is itself a delicately trimmed Christmas tree, featuring 14 ornament illustrations that highlight stories from Coolidge’s life and presidency.

It is topped by a star fashioned in the same style as the 1923 tree, and it includes a working light that illuminates the Coolidge White House and tree design from within. This is the first time technology has been featured in the ornament design.

Each year we honor a president or significant White House anniversary with the highly collectible, American-made design. This sale of this highly sought-after collectible supports the Association’s nonprofit, nonpartisan mission.

Since the ornament program began in 1981, ornaments have been manufactured in Lincoln, Rhode Island, by ChemArt, a veteran-owned small business. This year’s design was created by American designer David Howell.

“We are honored that millions of individuals have made the White House Historical Association’s ornaments a part of their holiday tradition for 35 years,” says Association President Stewart McLaurin. “Each ornament sale enables the Association to fulfill its mission and commitment to the White House as envisioned by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961.”

We are honored that millions of individuals have made the White House Historical Association’s ornaments a part of their holiday tradition for 35 years.

White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin

The nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was founded in 1961 at the recommendation of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the National Park Service.

Underwritten entirely by private funds, the Association supports the acquisition of furnishings and artwork for the White House permanent collection, assists in the preservation of the historic rooms, and educates the public on the history of the White House. Our efforts are funded through sales of the annual White House Christmas Ornament, our renowned publications, and other related products.