Photo Gallery: First Lady Tribute Ornaments

  • First Lady Tribute Card

    To celebrate and pay tribute to past White House holidays and honor the former First Ladies, four unique and decorated trees stand in the Grand Foyer.

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  • Tribute to Jacqueline Kennedy

    Jacqueline Kennedy’s 1961 theme “The Nutcracker” portrayed her love for ballet, classical music and culture. Mini wrapped presents were incorporated.

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  • Tribute to Lady Bird Johnson

    Lady Bird Johnson celebrated Christmas with an “Early Americana” theme. The trees were decorated with gingerbread ornaments and toy soldiers.

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  • Tribute to Pat Nixon

    Pat Nixon’s first theme was “State Flower Balls” in 1969. This Illinois State Flower Ball is a select piece from the original collection.

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  • Tribute to Betty Ford

    Betty Ford’s family traditions were based on creativity. This fabric bow represents a typical “Homespun Christmas.”

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  • Tribute to Rosalynn Carter

    Rosalynn Carter enjoyed “Classic American Christmas” in 1977, using all natural materials as wood, pinecones, and even peanuts.

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  • Tribute to Nancy Reagan

    Nancy Reagan celebrated an “Old Fashion Christmas” at the White House. She used glitzy shiny ornaments and angels to decorate the trees.

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  • Tribute to Barbara Bush

    Barbara Bush used tiny books and popular characters from children’s books to decorate trees in 1989, reflecting her favorite cause of literacy.

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  • Tribute to Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton embraced a “Winter Wonderland” theme in 1998, creating a contemporary twist to decorate the White House.

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  • Tribute to Laura Bush

    Laura Bush chose the patriotic theme “Red, White and Blue Christmas” in 2008. Decorations included flags, oversized nutcrackers, and drums.

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  • Tribute to Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama decorated the Blue Room tree in 2011 in honor of the military with medals and badges decorated on ornaments.

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In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy started the White House tradition of selecting an official holiday theme. For her daughter Caroline, Mrs. Kennedy created a Nutcracker-themed Christmas at the White House—and the tradition has lived on ever since. This year, the White House celebrates and pays tribute to past White House holidays with four unique trees in the Grand Foyer. Each tree is decorated with a collection of ornaments that best represent the holiday legacies of former First Ladies dating back more than 50 years to Mrs. Kennedy, and in the gallery above you can see some of the ornaments chosen to highlight past holidays.

First Lady Michelle Obama continues the tradition with this year’s theme “Joy to All.”

It celebrates the many joys of the holiday season: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessing with one another; and of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our home over the next several weeks.


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