Library of Congress
  • President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of a National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse outside White House in December 1923. The balsam fir from the Green Mountains of Vermont featured over 2,500 electric light bulbs.
    Library of Congress
  • First lady Grace Coolidge, wife of President Calvin Coolidge, saw as her duty to volunteer her time during the busy holiday seasons to help those in need. <br><br> In this image, Mrs. Coolidge distributes Christmas baskets at the Salvation Army to local Washingtonians, December 1923.
    Library of Congress
  • President Herbert Hoover and first lady Lou Hoover pose before pressing the button to light the National Christmas Tree on Dec. 24, 1929, in Washington, D.C. <br><br> The tree was decorated with colorful lights and this was the first time the it was decorated with both lights and ornaments.
    Library of Congress
  • First Lady Lou Hoover hands out bags of food and presents at an event held by the Central Union Mission on Dec. 24, 1930 in Washington.
    Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div.
  • On occasion, U.S. Presidents have chosen to spend Christmas holidays away from the White House at their private homes. <br><br> President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Christmas message on the radio from his study in the FDR Library in Hyde Park, N.Y., Dec. 24, 1943.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
  • First lady Eleanor Roosevelt discusses an assortment of toys with Santa Claus, including a stuffed elephant, during a holiday shopping tour at a Washington, D.C., department store in December 1934.
    Library of Congress
  • President Harry S. Truman prepares to press the button to illuminate the National Community Christmas on the White House Ellipse on Dec. 24, 1945, in Washington, D.C.
    Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his family stand in front of their Christmas tree for photo on their last year in the White House, Dec. 1960.
    Getty Images
  • In 1961, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, pictured alongside her husband President John F. Kennedy began the tradition of themed Christmas trees in the White House. The tree placed in the Blue Room was decorated with ornamental toys, birds and angels modeled after the "Nutcracker" ballet.
    John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
  • Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, looks at the Nutcracker Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House during the 1961 Kennedy family Christmas.
    John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency after President John F. Kennedy's assassination. First lady Claudia “Lady Bird” chose a traditional holiday theme in her White House decorations to help the mourning nation heal. <br><br> President Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson and Yuki, the White House pet dog, pose beside the family Christmas tree on Dec. 24, 1967, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House in Washington. The theme for that year was "An American Past."
    AP
  • Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, holds her infant daughter Lucinda Robb in front of a fireplace hung with Christmas stockings in the Blue Room of the White House, December 1968.
    Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon hosts her annual party for the children of the Diplomatic Corps at the White House, Dec. 23, 1969.
    NARA/Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
  • An air of gloom hung over the White House in 1973, with President Richard Nixon's involvement in the Watergate investigation. Due to an ongoing energy crisis, the White House Community tree was decorated primarily with garlands and balls instead of electric lights. <br><br> President Richard Nixon and first lady Pat Nixon stand next to a snowman on the South Lawn of the White House on Dec. 17, 1973 in Washington.
    Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
  • President Gerald and first lady Betty Ford brought to the White House an informality that reflected their unique style and personality. Mrs. Ford preferred homemade ornaments and encouraged Americans everywhere to make their ornaments in order to save money. <br><br> First lady Betty Ford and daughter Susan Ford sit near a Christmas tree making Christmas ornaments at the White House, Nov. 10, 1975.
    Karl Schumacher/The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
  • First lady Rosalynn Carter enjoys the White House Christmas decorations with her grandchildren, Sarah and Jason Carter, on Dec. 15, 1980, in Washington, D.C.
    Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
  • President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan decorate a White House Christmas tree, Dec. 2, 1983, in Washington, D.C.
    Ronald Reagan Library via Getty Images
  • First lady Barbara Bush talks to students from Washington area elementary schools during a Children's Christmas celebration at the White House, Dec. 14, 1992, in Washington, D.C.
    Doug Mills/AP
  • President George Bush reads a Christmas story to his grandchildren on Christmas Eve at the White House, Dec. 24, 1991 in Washington, D.C.
    Susan Biddle/Getty Images
  • First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton opened the White House holiday season by peering into a 70 lb. gingerbread and icing rendition of her childhood home on Wisner Street in Park Ridge, Ill., on Dec. 4, 1995, in Washington, D.C.
    Doug Mills/AP
  • President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton sing Christmas songs with children from Washington area elementary schools who were invited to a Christmas at the White House party, Dec. 18, 1997.
    Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images
  • Heightened security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks meant the White House was closed to the general public for the 2001 holiday season. First lady Laura Bush prepared a video tour of the holiday decorations, to be shown at the White House Visitors Center. <br><br> First lady Laura Bush gives members of the media a tour of the decorations in the State Dining room of the White House, Dec. 3, 2001. The theme is "Home for the Holidays."
    Ron Edmonds/AP
  • President George W. Bush reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to children during the White House children's story hour, Dec. 17, 2002, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
    Ron Edmonds/AP
  • President Barack Obama, mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia and first lady Michelle Obama, react after pushing the button to light the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010.
    Chuck Kennedy/The White House
  • First lady Michelle Obama and Miss Piggy read "A Christmas Story" to a group of children during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse, Dec. 3, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
    Harrison Jones for the Evening Sun via AP
  • President Donald J. Trump and first lady Melania Trump answer calls from people calling into the NORAD Santa tracker phone line while seated in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C, Dec. 24, 2018.
    Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
  • First lady Melania Trump waves after welcoming the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree outside the White House, Nov. 23, 2020.
    Hannah Mckay/Reuters