Christmas at the White House - and Reflections from America's First Ladies

( 3 )

Overview

Christmas at the White House beautifully documents the lavish public and private Christmas decorations, celebrations, themes, and traditions spanning half of a century inside the world's most famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With a foreword written by former First Lady Laura Bush, this singular book has earned the devotion of six of the most recent United States First Ladies, all of whom penned introductions to their sections. In the book, you can read what Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, ...

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Overview

Christmas at the White House beautifully documents the lavish public and private Christmas decorations, celebrations, themes, and traditions spanning half of a century inside the world's most famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With a foreword written by former First Lady Laura Bush, this singular book has earned the devotion of six of the most recent United States First Ladies, all of whom penned introductions to their sections. In the book, you can read what Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush have to say about how they celebrated Christmas inside America's most special home. Illustrated with more than five hundred exquisite photographs, most of which have never been viewed by the public before, the 408-page book is the first documented and published history of fifty years and nine different administrations beginning in the early 1960s with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who initiated formal Christmas themes at the White House.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

It is interesting to look at these books and see how trends have and have not changed over the last four decades.  The strength of this book are the pictures.  Because there is a lack of pictures from the Kennedy's and other presidential administrations, this book lacks some of the intrigue it could have. 
Having said that, the pictures that it does have are facinating. To see how the trends have continued and changed over the years is a reflection not only of the administration but of the United States over time. 

Rebecca Pausely 
NetGalley

It was quite interesting reading and looking at the old pictures of past presidents and their families during the holiday season.

4/5 stars  
Misty Hazard NetGalley

The White House: it is both the most recognized home in the United States and, in some ways, the most mysterious. At the forefront of American history for so many years, the mansion is infused with generations of holiday traditions, but the number of people who actually get to glimpse the December White House in all its decorative glory is very small.
Jennifer B. Pickens visited the White House for the first time in 2004. She was so impressed with First Lady Laura Bush’s “A Season of Merriment and Melody” theme that Pickens wanted to share the joyous experience with her friends and family. She was disappointed to discover that no book had been written about Christmas at the White House and decided to remedy the gap. The result is a collection of charming photographs and detailed descriptions of the efforts of nine recent First Ladies to make the White House festive and enchanted during the holiday season. Pickens also includes excerpts from the First Ladies’ own reflections.
Pickens’ descriptions of the decorations, along with the work that goes into them, are thorough and enjoyable. Not only does she show talent at choosing words and phrases, but she also includes a host of fascinating facts about things like the weight of the traditional gingerbread house, for example. Charmingly, she manages to show glimpses of the presidents and their families as they celebrate: a playful picture of Nancy Reagan sitting on Santa’s lap (who happens to be President Reagan), and a picture of George W. Bush decorating a cookie.
This delightful collection of essays and photographs is refreshingly apolitical. Pickens only seems to be concerned with enchantment and beauty, which is evident in a paragraph about Christmas in President Nixon’s White House: “The vibrant décor contrasted with the dark mood of the political scene, where events were unfolding that would lead to the President’s resignation in the coming year. Yet the First Lady found comfort in a bird’s nest that she discovered in the branches of the eighteen-foot tree. During a press tour she called it ‘an omen, a sign of very good luck. I’ve heard it forever that if you get a tree with a nest, it’s good luck.’”
Christmas at the White House has wide appeal and is sure to delight lovers of Christmas and Americana.
--Andi Diehn, Clarion ForeWord Reviews

Clarion ForeWord Reviews - Andi Diehn
This delightful collection of essays and photographs is refreshingly apolitical. Pickens only seems to be concerned with enchantment and beauty, which is evident in a paragraph about Christmas in President Nixon's White House: “The vibrant décor contrasted with the dark mood of the political scene, where events were unfolding that would lead to the President's resignation in the coming year. Yet the First Lady found comfort in a bird's nest that she discovered in the branches of the eighteen-foot tree. During a press tour she called it 'an omen, a sign of very good luck. I've heard it forever that if you get a tree with a nest, it's good luck.
Christmas at the White House has wide appeal and is sure to delight lovers of Christmas and Americana.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780615287645
  • Publisher: Fife & Drum Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 225,102
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Boswell Pickens is a White House social expert, speaker, and event planner. She has personally interviewed dozens of White House insiders, including First Families, social secretaries, chiefs of staff, presidential aides, and White House Executive Residence staff. Her first book, holiday top-seller Christmas at the White House, was the first to fully and accurately document the lavish public and private Christmas decorations, celebrations, themes, traditions, and memories of more than 50 years of First Families. And, like its predecessor, Pets at the White House includes intimate contributions from living former First Families. An accomplished historian, Pickens has served on the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board, Friends of the SMU Library, and on other civic and prominent boards.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A nice looking coffee table book

    It is interesting to look at these books and see how trends have and have not changed over the last four decades. The strength of this book are the pictures. Because there is a lack of pictures from the Kennedy's and other presidential administrations, this book lacks some of the intrigue it could have.
    Having said that, the pictures that it does have are facinating. To see how the trends have continued and changed over the years is a reflection not only of the administration but of the United States over time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful!!

    Christmas is the time of year when decorations come out for show: stores decorate their windows, houses bring out their decorations, and the White House gets in on the fun, too! In this book, you travel year by year through sevral presidencies and see how they decorated the most famous house in teh country. You learn how many of the traditions used got their start. The Candlelight Tours, The Gingerbread House among them. You may be surprised to see which President dressed up as Santa, and which First Lady had everyday Maerican citizens submit ornaments to dorn all the trees on the first 2 levels of the White House.

    This book is a great holiday coffee table book. You will enjoy the numerous pictures showing the awe and wonder of Christmas at the White House.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Gorgeous Christmas book!!!

    This books is wonderful! I gave this to my mother as a gift and she absolutely LOVED it! It has gorgeous pictures of the past Presidents and their families and give a fascinating glimpse into their unique Christmas traditions. It has so many details and interesting facts about the White House. Very well researched and the pages & pictures are just beautiful. I ended up buying another copy for myself for a coffee table book, and my family loves to flip through the pages at Christmas time. We will enjoy this book for many, many years to come.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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