Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Washington DC Christmas

Some of my favorite Christmases as an adult have been spent in Washington DC. I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas parties, baking for friends, touring Mt. Vernon at night all decorated for Christmas as they did in the 1700s, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse (click here to watch the 2009 ceremony), attending a performance of Handel's Messiah at the National Cathedral, Christmas Eve services at the National Cathedral and so much more.

2009 National Christmas Tree from the National Park Foundation Flickr page

One of my favorite DC Christmas memories is from 1995, when my friend Sarah scored an invitation for me to tour the White House all decorated for Christmas. This was not the typical public tour that occurred in the mornings. Instead, it took place at 1:45pm, was only for invited guests and your name had to be on the list. The theme of the decorations that year was "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and all the decorations were spectacular. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed, as was the rule throughout the building.

The Official White House Christmas Ornament that year paid homage to President Zachary Taylor. Click here for the official White House Historical Association Brochure and history of this ornament.
1995 Official White House Christmas Ornament from

You probably don't recall that the 1995 Official White House Christmas Tree (pictured below) was filled with a bit of controversy. That year, the ornaments were made by architecture students from across the country to go along with the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" theme. Rene Spineto created an ornament with two stockings featuring the names "Bill" and "Newt." Newt referred to then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. President Clinton's stocking was filled with candy and other treats, but Speaker Gingrich's stocking was filled with coal. Despite this, the ornament was hung uncensored.
1995 Blue Room Christmas Tree from Wikipedia.

The Obama's have added their special touches to the White House Christmas decorations this year by recycling ornaments from years past and having community groups from all over the country update them to reflect their state. You can watch a brief tour of the 2009 White House Christmas decorations below.

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