Ho-ho team hated with historic White House gifts

Giving someone a Christmas present with President Joe Biden, or one from Donald Trump, or the President before him, or the President before that, may not be greeted with joy or even courtesy. Anger, and in some cases hatred, directed at our current and recent US presidents, does not evoke the best holiday moods.

That White House Historical Associations 2021 Holiday Catalog avoids all that by promising “a Christmas present for everyone”.

“We are not focusing on politics,” said Stewart McLaurin, president of the non-partisan nonprofit agency founded by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961.

The group’s holiday catalog cover contains the Christmas decorations from the White House from 2021, which “depict a beautiful watercolor of the Blue Room Christmas tree”, which was ordered by first lady “Lady Bird” Johnson for the official Christmas card from 1967 for the Lyndon Johnson family.

The White House Historical Association (whitehousehistory.org) began issuing official ornaments in 1981, honoring each president in turn. The organization circumvents that tradition some years to honor special circumstances, such as the 200th anniversary of the presidency, or White House architect James Hoban. So Johnson’s turn has just come this year.

On the back of the ornament is this quote from a speech Johnson gave at a joint congress on March 15, 1965, in support of the Voting Rights Bill: “Our mission is at once the oldest and most fundamental in this country. to do wrong, to do justice, to serve man. ” It was part of his “We Shall Overcome” speech, which aimed to ban discriminatory measures that prevented blacks from voting.

Maybe it’s a battle cry for people who want to abolish the suffrage law today, but correcting the clock, doing justice and serving humanity seem to be harmless goals.

“People can put interpretations on what they want,” McLaurin says, adding that last year’s ornament featured the portrait of John F. Kennedy on the front and Jacqueline Kennedy’s observation that “the White House belongs to the American people” on the back.

Modern presidents have not received their ornaments yet, but they are represented. All the presidents have their signatures on silk ties ($ 49.95), which come in blue and red, and all have their names printed on the President’s Mug ($ 24.95). The current ornament, with 24 carat gold-plated brass, sells for $ 24.95 and is the most popular item. But the 25th edition of “The White House: An Historic Guide” also sells well for $ 29.95. The profits fund education initiatives, and the agency also orders the official portraits of the presidents and first ladies and maintains and buys furniture, art and other staples in the White House.



While the White House Historical Association focuses on the White House, not the presidents or politics, it does include some personal presidential gifts in its annual holiday catalog.  This plush toy version of the Biden family's deceased dog, Champ, is one of several presidential pets shown in stuffed animals, figurines or ornaments.

While the White House Historical Association focuses on the White House, not the presidents or politics, it does include some personal presidential gifts in its annual holiday catalog. This plush toy version of the Biden family’s deceased dog, Champ, is one of several presidential pets shown in stuffed animals, figurines or ornaments.
– Lent by the White House Historical Association

Books include some influenced by modern White House residents, including the popular “The White House Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ Cookbook: Winning Recipes from the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” ($ 39.95) started by First Lady Michelle Obama, and the younger Bush’s “Recipes from the President’s Ranch” ($ 45) The Obama family is also represented by a plush toy version ($ 10.95) of their deceased dog, Bo. Other stuffed animals for sale include Bidens’ now deceased dog, Champ ($ 24.95) ; George W. Bush’s dog, Barney ($ 16.95); George HW Bush’s dog, Millie ($ 10.95); Clipper ($ 10.95), a dog given to Jacquelyn Kennedy by her father-in-law; and Socks ($ 10.95) , the cat adopted by Chelsea Clinton.

“The trumps didn’t have a dog,” McLaurin says. “If they did, we would do it for them.”

As president of his organization, McLaurin deals with presidential families.

“I have worked with Obama, Trumps and Bidens, and all equally effectively, without any biased commitment or ridicule,” McLaurin said, noting that his group has a unique passion. “We are not an extension of the president. We are focused on the house.”

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