"Written on White House stationary in his own hand in 1927, President Calvin Coolidge issued the first official Christmas message to the American people. As a response to numerous requests for the President to send a holiday greeting, President Coolidge asked newspapers across the United States to publish his holiday greeting to the American people. Although he didn't speak, he participated in the first ceremonial tree lighting for the event now known as the Pageant of Peace."
White House Tree
"The tradition of a placing a decorated tree in the White House began in 1889 on Christmas morning during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison. The President's grandchildren, young Benjamin and Mary McKee, led the Harrison household into the second floor Oval Room to take a look at the first White House Christmas tree, which was lit with candles. Filled stockings hung from the mantel, and presents, candy and nuts were distributed to family and staff. President Harrison gave turkeys and gloves to his employees, and he received a silver-dollar-shaped picture holder from his daughter, Mame Harrison McKee.
What began as a family gathering has become a national tradition. Over the years, the White House Christmas tree has reflected both the times and the tastes of the First Family. First Lady Frances Cleveland created a "technology savvy" tree in 1895 when she hung electric lights on the White House tree. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of Christmas Tree themes when she decorated the 1961 Christmas tree in toy trimmings from the Nutcracker Suite ballet by Tchaikovsky."
National Christmas Tree
"Sixty years ago, the holiday season in Washington, D.C. was overshadowed by a horrible event on December 7, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Increased security at the White House and the awareness of America's new war, however, could not dampen the spirit of the season.
President Roosevelt welcomed a crowd of thousands for the annual Christmas Eve lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Americans across the nation listening by radio heard the President's radiant voice speak words of comfort.
"Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love and in God's care for us all men everywhere," said President Roosevelt.
Then the crowd and radio listeners heard another distinctive voice-the voice of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose last visit to the United States was forty years earlier. The Prime Minister's surprise appearance boosted the crowd's enthusiasm.
Churchill said, "Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied the right to live in a free and decent world."
The two leaders of the Allied Forces then joined the crowd in singing carols and each nation's national anthem."
"Celebrating the holidays with light is a custom common to people of faith. Many Presidents have participated in lighting ceremonies marking Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.
President Jimmy Carter walked to Lafayette Park in 1979 and lit one candle or shammash (the candle used to light other candles) in the 30-foot electric silver menorah."
Mrs. Bush's Hot Chocolate Recipe
6 T. Unsweetened cocoa
6 T. Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cup Light Cream
1/2 t. Vanilla (or more)
Pinch of Cinnamon Powder (optional)
Mix cocoa, salt, and sugar.
Add milk. Heat to dissolve.
Add light cream, cinnamon, vanilla. Heat to just under boiling.
Mix very well and pour into warm mug.
Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder, and fine orange zest.