Greg’s mom has been giving us White House Christmas ornaments for years now. We just received the 2011 White House ornament and I thought I would show you what it looks like. The ornament comes in a small, decorative box that has a velveteen covered insert inside where the ornament sits. They actually make the insert in the shape of the ornament and decorate it based on what the ornament looks like that year.
Each ornament comes with a story booklet explaining how the ornament was made and why they chose that design for the year.
2015 Update: We just received our 2015 White House Ornament. This year it is a Christmas tree that has a real working light in it.
I didn’t realize it but the sale of these ornaments is run by a non-profit organization (White House Historical Association) and all proceeds from the sale of these ornaments are used to fund the acquisition of historical furnishings and artwork for the permanent White House collection, to assist in the preservation for the public rooms, and to further its educational mission.
The detail is amazing. This year Santa Claus is bringing toys in his sack on one side and a family are gathered around a Christmas Tree on the other side. Maybe they used the Obama children living in the White House as the inspiration for the design but the ornament is actually based on the family of President Theodore Roosevelt (26th president).
The booklet reads: The 2011 ornament reflects the excitement that President Roosevelt, his wife Edith, and their lively young family brought to life at the White House. There had been no children living in the White House in the years since the departure of President Grover Cleveland and his family in March 1897. But with the arrival of the Roosevelts, six children would call White House “home”…Capturing the anticipation associated with the family’s first White House Christmas, a jolly Santa Claus crosses the snow covered North Lawn carrying large bag of toys over his shoulder and announces, “I hear there are some kids in the White House this year.”
The reverse side of the 2011 ornament features a second color image inspired by a period illustration. It captures the moment in 1903 when young Archie revels to his family a Christmas tree he had hidden in a seamstress’ closet in the White House. The tree defied the president’s ban, and its discovery became a popular Christmas story that ran in Ladies Home Journal underscoring the simplicity of the Roosevelt family’s Christmas decorations and the president’s conservation ethic.
Holly and candle motifs illustrating that article inspired the design of the 2011 ornament’s gold-plated brass frame.
The stories in the booklet go on for 4 more pages talking about the Roosevelt presidency, the life his family led in the White House and their traditions.
On the other side is a period drawing of a family that is supposed to represent Theodore Roosevelt and his family.
You can see how detailed the metal-work is with candle sticks on each side and ribbons of holly and berries woven in the pattern all around the ornament.
Here are some White House Ornaments we received from Great Grandma Limauge over the years. She started sending them to us in 2005.
Each box is designed to match the ornament inside. The picture above shows White House Ornament boxes from 2005 to 2010 in order from top left to bottom right.
2005 White House Christmas Ornament
2006 White House Christmas Ornament
2007 White House Christmas Ornament
2008 White House Christmas Ornament
2009 White House Christmas Ornament
2010 White House Christmas Ornament
If you like history then you will love the White House ornaments and might even want to start your own collection.
To purchase White House Christmas 2011 ornaments or to inquire about the availability of previous year’s ornaments, call 1-800-555-2451 or visit www.whitehousehistory.org