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Dec 09, 2021 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association released a new episode of the 1600 Sessions podcast today, “The History and Making of the Official White House Christmas Ornaments.” In this episode, Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks with Richard Rosvek, Trustee, Spirit of Liberty Foundation, who first suggested the creation of an ornament program to First Lady Nancy Reagan as a way to help fund restoration and acquisitions for the White House. The episode also features conversation with Dave Marquis and Kim Fyfe, President and Graphics Manager at Beacon Design, the American, veteran founded company that has been the exclusive manufacturer of the ornament since 1981.

Watch the full video of this podcast episode here.

Rosvek remembers the day vividly. “I said [to Mrs. Reagan], ‘I think that the White House should have a Christmas ornament each year and it should be an official White House ornament,’” he said. “And I’ll never forget she looked at me and said, ‘Richard, that’s a really nice idea. Why don’t you do that?’”

Dave Marquis, ChemArt president, and Kim Fyfe, graphics manager, emphasized the care taken in production of the ornament year after year, and the pride the company takes in the perpetuation of this long-standing tradition.

“If you look at [our wall of ornaments], it really is a microcosm of how our process evolved over time,” Marquis said.

Fyfe elaborated on that process, adding, “A lot of times we try to find something that’s a first...[it’s about] showing the public what goes on at the White House with the presidents and how things are still happening today.”

Since 1981, the White House Historical Association has created the Official White House Christmas Ornament. Collecting and gifting these unique ornaments has become a holiday tradition for millions. Ornament sales support the mission of the Association to preserve, protect, and provide access to the rich history of the Executive Mansion.

“It was a chance,” said Rosvek. “We didn’t know how many we would sell in the beginning, but it was immensely successful.”

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.

To hear the full episode, visit The1600sessions.org.

For more information, please contact press@whha.org.

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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