White House Christmas Through the Years: A Presidential Photo Album

Take a trip back through White House Christmases past with this multi-year collection of pictures highlighting Christmas decor at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

Photo By: Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2011

The Christmas tree for the Blue Room arrives by horse-drawn carriage.

White House Christmas 2011

First dog Bo is on hand to welcome the arrival of the Christmas tree for the Blue Room. Bo is a key player in White House decoration for 2011.

White House Christmas 2011

The east visitors' entrance is the starting point for holiday tours and receptions at the White House. The number of visitors for the Christmas 2011 tour of the White House exceeded 85,000.

White House Christmas 2011

The 2011 holiday theme, chosen by the first lady, was "Shine, Give, Share." Here, the tree in the China Room displays the theme.

White House Christmas 2011

The eight large windows in the East Colonnade are usually decorated with enormous wreaths. This year, in honor of the first lady's theme, artists used recycled paper to bring new holiday spirit to the space.

White House Christmas 2011

At the White House there are 37 Christmas trees to decorate, with more than 10,000 ornaments.

White House Christmas 2011

The Christmas tree in the Blue Room is dedicated to military families.

White House Christmas 2011

The trees in the East Room are decorated with gold leaves.

White House Christmas 2011

Each of the ornaments on the Blue Room tree is dedicated to an individual military family.

White House Christmas 2011

This year's gingerbread house weighs a whopping 400 pounds. A new feature this year: Some of the windows are transparent, and you can see into the State Dining Room, Red Room, Green Room and East Room.

White House Christmas 2011

The windows, fashioned in white chocolate, are attached to the house with melted white chocolate.

White House Christmas 2011

The gingerbread house is accompanied by an edible replica of the first lady's garden.

White House Christmas 2011

First lady Michelle Obama decorates cookies with military children alongside White House chefs.

White House Christmas 2011

The "cranberry tree" on the table is the focal point of the Red Room. Covered with faux cranberries and pepper berries, the beautiful striped urn is filled with fresh roses, hydrangeas and peonies.

White House Christmas 2011

Smaller cranberry urns finish out the space.

White House Christmas 2011

 

White House Christmas 2011

This Bo, in the Library, is made out of trash bags.

White House Christmas 2011

This Bo, in the Library, is made out of trash bags.

White House Christmas 2011

The faux Bo near the East entrance is made out of pom-poms.

White House Christmas 2011

Could first dog Bo (the real one) be admiring the Green Room Christmas trees?

White House Christmas 2010

At the start of each White House holiday event, the reception line starts here. For 2010 the 18-1/2-foot tree in the Blue Room is tall enough to reach the ceiling but narrow enough to allow room for the guests. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

Oversized urns with crystal-lit branches decorate the Cross Hall. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

The crystal branches also flank the entrance to the Blue Room. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

Festive garlands decorate the entrance to the East Room. The stairway leads to the private residence. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

The first lady's Military Appreciation Tree stands in the East Entrance Landing. The ornaments and ribbon commemorate each military branch, and a dove carrying an olive branch tops the tree. As a way to show appreciation to the men and women who serve the country, White House visitors are given the opportunity to send troops a personal holiday message, and the president will pay the postage.

White House Christmas 2010

In the Diplomatic Reception Room, garlands and trees decorated with dried fruit, pomegranates and brightly wrapped presents flank the fireplace. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

In the Green Room, mini Christmas trees rest on a side table; the tree in the background is supposed to represent a beehive, in honor of the two hives on the South Lawn. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

Every year the Red Room has a table cranberry topiary, and the 2010 version has a sphere of branches and cranberries. In keeping with the first family's commitment to stay eco-friendly, the previous year's red-lacquered magnolia wreaths from the East Colonnade dress up the windows. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

A bird adorns the ornaments on the East Room Christmas tree. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

The tree in the Library pays tribute to the "gift of stories." The room was converted into the library in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

The 2010 gingerbread house, weighing in at 450 lbs. (100 lbs. heavier than in 2009), reveals miniature versions of the State Dining Room and East Room; the green trees were made from magnolia seed pods dipped in icing. Also featured are the kitchen garden, a beehive and Bo. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

Here, a close-up of the gingerbread "State Dining Room."

White House Christmas 2010

Along the East Colonnade, gourds and artichokes underline arrangements of crystal branches. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

The East Room is the largest room in the White House and where most of this year's holiday parties will be held. Here, it's set up for the first reception of the season. The room has four large Christmas trees with bird and floral decorations. Atop each tree is a peacock, custom-designed by James Lutke. — Image courtesy of Washington, D.C., photographer Marty Katz

White House Christmas 2010

This beautiful tree in the Green Room was created by rolling up pieces of newspaper and spraying them with gold and glitter. In keeping with the 2010 theme of "green living and creativity," some 75 pounds of recycled magazines and newspapers went into the creation of the trees and wreaths in this room.

White House Christmas 2009

Bouquets in the State Dining Room rest on tables that are ready to be set for almost 30 holiday parties at the White House this season.

White House Christmas 2009

Concept boards were used in every room of the White House to help volunteers understand the look and feel each room was supposed to have. This one, in the State Dining Room, shows pinecones, dried hydrangea, beads and glass ornaments.

White House Christmas 2009

Michelle Obama asked that 800 ornaments be sent to community groups across the country, to be decorated in a way that pays tribute to a favorite local landmark or person. This ornament pays tribute to Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to become a physician.

White House Christmas 2009

The gold and silver orbs that were sent to community groups for decorating were previously used as decorations in past White House Christmases.

White House Christmas 2009

A volunteer mixes winterberry twigs with gold-sprayed pinecones and gold leaves on one of two trees in the Cross Hall.

White House Christmas 2009

Small vases in the State Dining Room are covered with magnolia leaves.

White House Christmas 2009

Designed to complement the colors in the William Cogswell portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the Fraser firs in the State Dining Room are decorated in part with dried roots from the kitchen garden.

White House Christmas 2009

This year's gingerbread house features a miniature State Dining Room with a working chandelier and furniture made of dark chocolate.

White House Christmas 2009

Sprigs of winterberry dress up the niches in the East Entrance.

White House Christmas 2009

Boxwood garlands frame the windows in the East Colonnade. Wreaths are made with lacquered magnolia leaves. Both plants can be found in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden right outside the windows.

White House Christmas 2008

For 2008, fresh green wreaths, hanging from hand-carved eagles, lined the East Colonnade.

White House Christmas 2008

The wooden eagles atop each wreath in the East Colonnade were carved by Texas artists.

White House Christmas 2008

Former first lady Laura Bush and White House Chief Florist Nancy Clarke enter the East Room. Nancy was one of the first people to welcome the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, to the White House in 2001.

White House Christmas 2008

The ornate mantels in the East Room are decorated with red and blue garland, pinecones, and red and silver ornaments.

White House Christmas 2008

One of two trees in the East Room, this one is adorned with red and blue garland and silver stars. The room also features festive holiday topiaries set in hand-painted drums.

White House Christmas 2008

The tree in the former first lady's office featured more red, white and blue decorations, including handmade cookies in the patriotic shapes of stars and flags.

White House Christmas 2008

The Blue Room tree in 2008 was a Fraser fir. It traveled all the way from River Ridge Tree Farms in Crumpler, N.C. Hand-painted ornaments and red, white and blue LED lights made it especially bright and festive.

White House Christmas 2008

Each ornament on the Blue Room tree was personally decorated by artists chosen by members of Congress in their specific state, district or territory.

White House Christmas 2008

Artist Glen Pagano represents the 1st district of New York with this painting of the Statue of Liberty.

White House Christmas 2008

Representing Texas, artist Janet Eager Krueger hand-painted this Blue Room tree ornament.

White House Christmas 2004

As the centerpiece of the home at Christmastime, the Blue Room tree is carefully chosen from farms across the nation. The Noble fir that was used in 2004 came from Carol and John Tillman's farm in Washington state.

White House Christmas 2004

The ornaments on the Blue Room Christmas tree reflected the 2004 theme, "A Season of Merriment and Melody." Representing every state of the union, artisans from across the county painted all 350 ornaments by hand.

White House Christmas 2004

The Grand Foyer was a sparkling forest of lights, featuring nearly 30 trees. Faux snow transformed the space into a winter wonderland that reflected the room's theme of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas."

White House Christmas 2004

For 2004, the wreaths in the East Colonnade were covered in sugared fruit. At the end of the colonnade, the snow-covered tree framed by an arched doorway was just a preview of the forest that awaited guests upstairs.

White House Christmas 2004

Four huge snowy trees decorated with silver ornaments filled the East Room. The splendor of the room was reflected in the tall mirrors that were draped in garland, rich with crystal, tinsel and more glorious snow.

White House Christmas 2004

Glittering gold magnolia leaves covered mantels and sconces in the State Dining Room. To reflect the musical theme, the staff added musical instruments and sparkling crystal ornaments embossed with gold.

White House Christmas 2004

Red, gold and amber glass ornaments and berries added holiday sparkle to the Vermeil Room. Shiny gold trumpets and French horns reflected the rich colors of the ornaments that covered the yuletide greenery.

White House Christmas 2004

The "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" vignette showing a young couple surrounded by white ornaments and trees sat on a pier table.

White House Christmas 2004

For 2004, Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus DuBois created a gingerbread White House surrounded by characters that represented eight Christmas songs.

White House Christmas 2003

For the official White House Christmas card of 2003, first lady Laura Bush chose painter Barbara Ernst Prey, who specializes in vivid watercolors. To show the warmth of the holidays, the two decided on a glowing fireplace in the Diplomatic Reception Room as their scene.

White House Christmas 2003

Guarding the North Entrance of the White House were 10-foot-tall nutcrackers created by the White House carpenters and plumbers. A beautiful garland filled with red, gold and purple ornaments surrounded the entrance.

White House Christmas 2003

After the first lady decided on her storybook theme, White House Chief Florist Nancy Clarke felt that candy was the best accent for such a childlike theme. Her staff of 45 set out to fill every room, including the Green Room, with lots and lots of candy.

White House Christmas 2003

The Green Room was filled with all kinds of yummy treats. The staff wanted this room to sparkle, so they added jelly tarts, gumdrops, wrapped candies, shiny trains and real rock candy to the lush evergreen garland.

White House Christmas 2003

The White House floral staff created hand-painted figurines from favorite children's storybooks to be displayed on the mantels throughout the White House. To get an accurate portrayal of Harry Potter, the White House floral staff used the expertise of an 8-year-old boy, who made sure they got every last detail correct.

White House Christmas 2003

The centerpiece of the State Dining Room was a scene from the classic children's tale, Alice in Wonderland. The platform for these fun characters were storybooks created by the White House calligraphers.

White House Christmas 2003

The centerpiece of the 2003 White House Christmas decor is the enormous Blue Room tree. Chief Usher Gary Walters traveled to Diane and Jim Chapman's Wisconsin farm to select the perfect Fraser fir tree.

White House Christmas 2003

To highlight the 2003 theme "A Season of Stories," the Blue Room Christmas tree was decorated with handmade storybook characters, first used in 1989 by Barbara Bush during her husband's presidency. Hundreds of children's storybooks were laid underneath the tree like presents.

White House Christmas 2003

At one end of the East Colonnade, a sleigh that echoed the "A Season of Stories" theme was filled with the first family's favorite storybooks. In the windows, wreaths accented with red crab apples added color and a fresh touch of nature to the space.

White House Christmas 2003

Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier made a special treat for the East Room in 2003. The chocolate factory from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which was built completely out of chocolate, was the centerpiece for the dessert table. Mesnier and his staff crafted figurines of characters from the movie, including Willy Wonka, Charlie, Violet and even some Oompa Loompas made out of blown sugar.

White House Christmas 2003

President George W. Bush wanted the tree in the Oval Office to reflect the theme of the rest of the White House. Miniature children's storybooks and classic red and gold ornaments adorned the tree in this famous room.

Component Headline