Ever since Teddy Roosevelt took his family out for a brisk Christmas walk in 1908, White House Christmas celebrations have become much more casual, festive affairs. Here are quick-hit highlights from the last 87 years:
· In 1923, Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge quietly introduced the inaugural National Christmas Tree, festooned with more than 2,500 electric lights.
· Six years later, a Christmas Eve fire totaled Herbert Hoover's West Wing during a party, which eventually led to FDR's creation of the modern Oval Office in 1934.
· A 1948 photo shows the Truman-era White House kitchen, fully equipped for decadent holiday dinners.
· Twelve years later, the Eisenhower family posed for a photograph over their Yuletide meal.
· Jack Kennedy and the Camelot clan, always media darlings, proved especially photogenic at the holidays, providing some touching fireside vignettes.
· Tricky Dick Nixon made the most of Christmas cheer and in 1971 celebrated with daughter Tricia and her husband, David "Fortunate Son" Eisenhower.
· The gingerbread house has long been a tradition in the presidential household, but Barbara Bush fashioned a white castle instead. It seemed a little out of place next to the more seasonally appropriate creations later unveiled by Hillary Clinton and Barbara's daughter-in-law, Laura.
· Christmas has become such a pervasive holiday for today's president that a bedazzled tree is now a common sight in the staid Oval Office.
If history isn't your thing—well, then just have a look at the pictorial representation of all that's written here in the photogallery above. And if you're really into visuals, look at this video here; it's got a creeptastic voice-over but some pretty sweet shots:
· The History of Christmas at the White House, 1789-2009 [44-Diaries]