Christmas as a Federal Holiday
The History of Christmas as a Federal Holiday
“The act of June 28, 1870, which was apparently prompted by a memorial drafted by local “bankers and business men,” provided that New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas Day, and “any day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fasting or thanksgiving [were] to be holidays within the District.” This legislation was drafted “to correspond with similar laws of States around the District,” and “in every State of the Union.” Excerpted from Stephen W. Stathis (1999) Federal Holiday: Evolution and Application. CRS Report for Congress
What IS Right With America Blog Posts Related to Christmas
2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree
The 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree is an 88 foot tall white spruce taken from the Chippewa National Forrest in Minnesota. The tree was cut down on October 29th, and it arrived at the Capitol after being displayed in more than 30 cities. As part of a Make-a-Wish Foundation grant, the tree was lit by a 10 year old boy who is fighting brain cancer. The Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments made by Minnesotians.
Please note the restoration work being done to the Capitol’s Dome in the background of the picture. Repair of the Dome’s more than 1,000 cracks are expected to be completed in approximately one year. Restoration work on the interior should be finished by the autumn months of 2016.
The First Theme for the White House Christmas Tree
Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of using a theme for Christmas decorations and employing that theme on a tree in the Blue Room of the White house. In 1961, the theme was “Nutcracker Suite”, and the tree was filed with ornaments based upon the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. The attached photograph is of the Kennedy’s in 1962 when the theme was “childhood.”
A Presidential Christmas Card Focused on the True Meaning of the Holiday
“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas..If we think of these things there will be born in us a Savior and over us all will shine a star – sending its gleam of hope to the world.” Inscription from the Christmas Card of Calvin and Grace Coolidge (1927)
Coolidge was the first president to take part in the lighting of the National Christmas tree in 1923.
Arrival of the White House Christmas Tree
Great ceremony marks the reception of the White House Christmas tree by the First Lady. Laura Bush is featured in this 2008 image accepting the Fraser fir from North Carolina.
Pat Nixon and the First White House Gingerbread House
In 1972, Pat Nixon began a White House Christmas tradition of her own: the first White House Gingerbread House. Purportedly, President Nixon would sneak a bite or two from the house when he believed no one was watching. Mrs. Nixon also began the tradition of a candlelight tour of the White House during the 1971 Holiday Season. Stay tuned….tomorrow I will post a more recent, and dramatically larger, house.