History of the White House Christmas tree, started by Caroline Harrison

Caroline Harrison (whitehousehistory.org)

Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas season is quickly approaching. Whose tree farm will Mrs. Obama select to supply the White House with the official Christmas tree of the season? In honor of this event, let’s take a look at the great style of the woman who first began the tradition of the White House Christmas tree.

The first indoor White House Christmas tree was the tree of President Benjamin Harrison and First Lady Caroline Harrison in 1889. It stood in the Oval Room, located in the upstairs of the White House. Caroline, an artist, helped decorate this first White House tree, branched adorned with lit candles. Little did Mrs. Harrison know, she was setting the stage for a much-loved holiday tradition, the White House Christmas tree.

Following Caroline, not all first ladies chose indoor trees; however, Lou Henry Hoover’s tree began the yet unbroken custom of an indoor tree, known as the “official” White House Christmas tree. Since that time of 1929, the honor of trimming the White House Christmas tree has belonged to our nation’s hostess, the first lady.

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