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Apr 01, 2021 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association (WHHA) today revealed the Official 2021 White House Christmas Ornament. This year’s annual collectible is designed to commemorate President Johnson’s time in the White House and features a painting of the 1967 Blue Room Christmas tree, commissioned by Mrs. Johnson and painted by Robert H. Laessig, a designer for American Greetings.
A quote from President Johnson is also featured on one side of the ornament: “Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.” The president spoke these words to a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, calling on legislators to support a bill that would protect the right to vote and outlaw discriminatory measures that prevented African Americans from voting.
Since 1981, the White House Historical Association has designed and manufactured the Official White House Christmas Ornament. Each year, the ornament commemorates a President’s time in the White House (in sequential order) or a significant White House anniversary.
“This year’s ornament commemorates President Johnson and his family’s time in the People’s House,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the WHHA. “For decades, the White House Historical Association has been proud to continue its tradition of designing the Official White House Christmas Ornament, and we’re honored to play a part in the first family’s holiday celebrations.”
“Holidays at the White House were always a special time. It was a time that everybody celebrated. We celebrated with the White House staff. We had choirs come in and sing. It was just such a joyous time,” said Lynda Johnson Robb, former First Lady of Virginia and the eldest daughter of President Johnson. “The quote that the [WHHA] has on the back of the Christmas Ornament does reflect what he felt that his mission was, at once the oldest and the most basic of this country.”
“As president, my father had an unwavering commitment to social justice,” Luci Baines Johnson, the youngest daughter of President Johnson. “It is deeply fitting for his commemoration on this year’s Official White House Ornament to feature his historic 1965 remarks to the Congress. For me, it is a very sentimental journey because I had the privilege of a lifetime to witness the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”
One side of the Official 2021 ornament features a painting of the 1967 Blue Room Christmas tree. Mrs. Johnson requested that Robert H. Laessig, a designer for American Greetings, paint the official Christmas tree in the Blue Room for their card that year. The 1967 White House Christmas card was sent out by President and Mrs. Johnson to White House staff members, family, and friends.
On the other side of the ornament, there is a quote from President Johnson: “Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.” Johnson’s speech was a response to the violence in Selma, Alabama, where Civil Rights activists were attacked by law enforcement and counter protesters while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The speech was later remembered by its most famous line, “We Shall Overcome.”
The flowers encircling the quote are inspired by Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification programs on the White House Grounds and throughout Washington, D.C. These are Texas bluebonnets—a favorite of Mrs. Johnson and the official state flower of Texas.
The Official White House Christmas Ornament is traditionally hung in the White House. Collecting and gifting these ornaments has become a holiday tradition for millions. Now in its 60th year, the White House Historical Association is a private, nonpartisan non-profit organization that protects, preserves and provides public access to the People’s House.
Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, daughters of President Johnson, reflected on the legacy of their father earlier this year for the WHHA event Personal Reflections on President Lyndon B. Johnson, a discussion moderated by journalist Susan Page.
The Official White House Christmas Ornament is available for sale beginning today.
Purchase online at shop.whitehousehistory.org.
Ornament price: $24.95
See high-resolution images of the Official White House Christmas Ornament here.
WHHA President Stewart McLaurin is available to discuss this year’s ornament, holiday traditions at the White House and the role of WHHA over the past 60 years.
To schedule, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.