17 Days of Christmas 2011: White House Christmas

Can you believe it? Seventeen days left? I finally updated my Amazon.com wish list and ordered some gifts. Decorating? Well, maybe later. We’ll see.

One of my personal guilty pleasures is watching the HGTV White House Christmas special every year. I used to make my students watch it, thinking they actually cared about the history and beauty of the White House. Mostly, I got comments ranging from “what a waste of money” to “the White House is a public building and shouldn’t be decorated for Christmas, which is a religious holiday.” There is a certain amount of truth in both of those statements, but for me, watching the White House transformed for the holidays is a very special treat. The year, the special is airing on HGTV on December 11; set your recording devices NOW so you don’t forget.

Image via shelterpop.com

Aren’t they gorgeous? In 1961, Jackie Kennedy began the current tradition of decorating the White House Christmas tree with a specific theme. First ladies since the divine Jackie have put their personal spin on the tree decorations, but most have included handmade ornaments by artists around the United States. First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2011 theme is “Shine, Give, Share.” You’ll see all this on the White House Christmas special, but this photo essay from the Daily Mail has many beautiful pictures of the White House decorated for the holidays.

You’re probably not up for creating a 400-pound marzipan White House replica, but you can cook White House style with this cookbook.

You can buy this 1899 edition of the White House Cookbook through my favorite catalog or from Amazon.com, but you might want to consider the centennial commemorative cookbook which was published in 1996. The 1896 recipes have been lightened up and made more appropriate for modern tastes.

My post from last year at 17 Days was about the Sing-Off which was still a December phenomenon then. It was a lot of fun to watch this year’s version again with my UR buddies; sadly our hometown guys, The Yellowjackets, didn’t win. As you can see from their web site, national exposure has made them stars. We’re pretty proud of our UR singers, including my daughter’s college a capella group, Vocal Point.

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3 responses

  1. Divine Jackie, indeed. I didn’t find your fave WH cookbook at the library but I did find one from 1986 that I just put on hold; along with a few Jackie Kennedy cookbooks (her chefs at both the WH and her personal home). What a Christmas treat this will be. Did you see the book I posted a week ago on Christmas at the White House? Ah, the library. Love it – and adore you for inspiring some new reads.

    xoxo michele

  2. Hi. I just read your post from my blog. I am soooo sorry to hear that you lost your Mom last June. It has been 5 years since my mother passed away and I still miss her terribly. I know you don’t know me, but I am here if you just want to talk about it. I know I don’t know you either or your pain. I can only relate to your grief. Being motherless just plain sucks (for lack of a better term, sorry). You are welcome to contact me via email.
    Great countdown to Christmas! Thanks for sharing new reads because I LOVE reading!

  3. […] of the posts. Most popular, however, were the posts about the Radio City Rockettes and about the White House Christmas decorations. People seemed really interested in the fact that the Rockettes wear microphones in […]

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