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Feb 20, 2017 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association unveiled today the design of the 2017 Official White House Christmas Ornament. Honoring the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the ornament features a zinc cast design inspired by the eagle cartouche that adorned the speaker’s stand at Roosevelt’s first inauguration. 

American-made, the 37th official ornament offered by the Association continues the tradition of honoring U.S. presidents in sequential order or marking a significant White House historical anniversary with the annual ornament. President Roosevelt served as the 32nd president of the United States of America for a historic four terms, leading the nation for twelve years. He was elected on November 8, 1932 in a landslide victory granted by an electorate wanting change and rescue from the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. A lawyer and state senator, Roosevelt served as assistant secretary of the navy in President Woodrow Wilson’s administration and was elected governor of New York.  As president he would see the country through the Second World War, dying mere months before the end of the conflict.

“The presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt stands apart in history and we are privileged to offer the official White House ornament that recognizes his tremendous service to our nation,” said Stewart D. McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “Our challenge was to create a design that embodied nods to his years in the White House.”

White House Historian William Seale observed, “For all that can be said to celebrate President Franklin Roosevelt’s life and service, it is well to pause on that morning of March 4, 1933, when he stood before thousands on the Capitol’s east front, above the elaborate eagle reproduced on this White House ornament, and delivered one of the finest of all inaugural addresses: 

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Other details in this year’s design include:

  • The shape is a nod to the home radios Americans used to listen to Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats 
  • Forty-eight stars on the flags and encircling the eagle represent the number of states in the union during his administration 
  • Four stars near the top of the ornament represent Roosevelt’s four terms in office
  • FDR’s personal monogram
  • His beloved Scottish Terrier Fala 
  • Around the ornament border, a chevron design is based on Roosevelt’s personal card case  
  • The white leaf motif is based on exterior stone molding adorning the White House north entrance

The sale of every Official White House Ornament supports the Association’s mission to preserve, protect, and provide public access to the White House. The ornament is on sale beginning today, exclusively at the Association’s retail stores in Washington, D.C. and online at Shop.WhiteHouseHistory.org for $20.95.

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 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 $45 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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