Annual White House ornament commemorates Calvin Coolidge

WHHA 2015 ornament tree

The Coolidge Christmas tree ornament sells for $18.95

© 2015 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The White House Historical Association’s annual Christmas tree ornament commemorates the 1923 – 1929 presidential administration of Vermont’s Calvin Coolidge, who began the custom of lighting a large Christmas tree in the Ellipse near the executive mansion.

At 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1923, Coolidge pressed a button in the White House and lighted more than 2,500 electric bulbs on the balsam fir that had been donated by Middlebury College. Since then, the lighting of the national tree has been an annual event.

The 2015 White House Christmas ornament is a depiction of that first National Christmas tree, illuminated from within by an LED light and hung with 14 ornaments that represent events of Coolidge’s life and presidency.

These include the Coolidge store in Plymouth, a kerosene lamp representing the story of Coolidge’s swearing in by his father after President Harding’s death and the Distinguished Flying Cross he presented to Charles Lindbergh after his 1927 flight across the Atlantic Ocean. When the ornament is lit, the windows of the White House glow from within on the front and back.

coolidge 1st nat tree

Calvin Coolidge, center, with the first national Christmas tree in 1923. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Sales of the ornament support the work of the White House Historical Association, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic rooms of the executive mansion and educating the public about its history. The Coolidge ornament — and others — can be found on the association’s website.

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