George and Barbara Bush

Storybook Christmas, 1989

Nutcracker Suite, 1990

Storybook tree
click image for enlarged view

President and Mrs. Bush's first White House Christmas began with a press preview on December 11 and did not stop until Christmas day. These events included a congressional Christmas ball, a reception for the children of diplomats, various staff parties, and a series of East Room Christmas receptions. Thousands of guests attended these social gatherings over a period of seven evenings.

The theme for Christmas that first year melded the wonder of the holiday with Mrs. Bush's concern about our national literacy skills. So the White House presented a "Storybook Christmas" in 1989. The White House staff created figures of famous storybook characters such as Aladdin and Babar, and underneath the trees were books tied up with red bows.

Nutcracker tree
click image for enlarged view

Mrs. Bush also expressed her love for children in other ways. She took particular pleasure in hosting a special party for homeless children from the Central Union Mission in Washington, DC. She distributed special Christmas bags filled with gifts and then read them Christmas stories. She sometimes would tell the stories in her own words, giving it her own personal touch.

George and Barbara Bush invited their children and grandchildren to celebrate Christmas in the White House in 1990. The special theme for Christmas that year was the "Nutcracker Suite." There were nearly fifty trees in the White House, but the tree that featured the Nutcracker was special - it was decorated with 50 pairs of ballet slippers and 40 dancers along with assorted ornaments from the White House collection.


F. Roosevelt

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