Christmas with Presidents, Washington to Reagan
The first edition of this column appeared in December 2016.
Christmas is a time of celebration and coming together, of letting go of old—and not so old—hurts and looking forward to a new day and a new year.
It is a time to remember the ancient proverb, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” And this year, it is a prime opportunity to give thanks for a “tree of candles”—the White House Christmas tree—and what it has meant to Americans through the years.
George Washington was our first president and set the bar high in many ways. However, he wasn’t the first to celebrate Christmas at the White House. The reason is simple: the White House construction was not completed until after Washington left office in 1797.
He and Mrs. Washington hosted family, colleagues, and friends at Christmas during the eight years he served as our president.
Washington’s most unusual Christmas came in December 1776, when he was the commander in chief of the Continental Army and not yet president.
He crossed the road in the middle of…