What Christmas Theme Will First Lady Michelle Obama Choose?
For those of us who get excited about the holidays, it’s exciting to think about what the White House Christmas theme will be for 2009. I actually started wondering last year what theme First Lady Michelle Obama would choose her first year in the White House for the official Blue Room Christmas tree. Will she choose a whimsical theme? How about a traditional, musical, global or even a hope theme as an ode to the President’s successful campaign? Will there be a special theme for First Daughters, Malia and Sasha? Just imagine a Christmas tree in the White House with hope ornaments designed by artists representing all 50 of the United States. This could be unifying and magnificent.
This whole thing started me wondering about how White House holiday themes are chosen and when the process begins. According to former chief usher, Gary Walters who retired in 2007, “in late winter and early spring, the staff presents numerous ideas to the First Lady and then she decides on a theme as early as late spring to permit time to carry out the theme.” So much like retailers, decisions are made during the first half of the year about how the holiday season will shape up at the White House.
The First White House Christmas Tree Theme
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy introduced the world to the tradition of Christmas tree themes in the White House in 1961 with a “Nutcracker Suite” theme featuring trimmings derived from the ballet by Tchaikovsky. Ornaments included gingerbread cookies, tiny toys, wrapped packages, candy canes and straw ornaments made by disabled or senior citizen craftsmen throughout the United States.
Past White House Holiday Themes
Past White House themes have included the following:
2008 – A Red White and Blue Christmas
2006 – Crystals and ornaments of iridescent glass for a Deck the Halls and Welcome All Theme
1997 – Santa’s Workshop
1996 – The Nutcracker Suite
1995 – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
1994 – The Twelve Days of Christmas
1993 – Angels
Presenting the Blue Room Tree
Some time in October the current White House Chief Usher, Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon, will head to the site of a lucky grower to select the 2009 Blue Room Christmas tree. The tree will be cut in late November and transported to Washington where it will be presented to the First Lady in early December. The tree will then be decorated by the White House Floral Department staff and volunteers and will be displayed throughout the holiday season. It will be seen and enjoyed by numerous holiday visitors and featured on media tours.
My vote is for a hope, dreams and wishes theme with stars of varying colors and sizes crafted by artisans representing all 50 of the United States set against a backdrop of sparkling lights and flocked branches. Why? Because even in these challenging times, hope springs eternal, dreams do come true and wishes are still be granted.
Best Wishes 2009!