How The Kennedys Made the Holidays at The White House Special

No matter which holidays you celebrate or which traditions might be unique to you, almost universally across the nation, Americans come together to celebrate the holiday season. For Jackie Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, who entered the White House in 1961, the holiday season was a time to transform our nation’s house for its citizens while adding extra special touches for their young children, Caroline, and John, Jr.

Though the Kennedys spent only two holiday seasons in the White House, 1961 and 1962, Mrs. Kennedy, in particular, set the standard for what the holidays could be. Not only was it a time to decorate The White House to a level of glorious splendor, but it was also a time for outreach, connection, and giving back. These are all the ways the Kennedys made the holidays season spectacular in the White House.

1. Christmas tree themes

Kennedys at Christmas 1962

Kennedys at Christmas 1962 | Instagram via

In 1961, during her first holiday season as America’s First Lady, Jackie Kennedy began a tradition that would continue among first ladies into the present day. She started the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree. In the past, the trees in the White House were pretty traditional. The Eisenhowers, for example, had a tree covered in tinsel and white lights which they called the Eisenhowers’ Silver Tree. Mrs. Kennedy wanted to elevate her decorations by using themes.

Next: The first Christmas tree

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