White House photo by Paul Morse
The grandeur of the East Room is accentuated by clusters of snow-covered trees dripping with icicles, snowflakes, and tinsel. The centerpiece of the East Room is the beautiful White House crèche which has been displayed every Christmas since 1967, when it was given to the White House by Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard, Jr., of Far Hills, New Jersey. The 47 baroque figures in the crèche, made of carved wood and terra cotta, were created in Naples, Italy, in the late 18th Century. In 1978, Mrs. Engelhard donated ten additional figures and funds for a new tableau, which was first displayed in 1999.
Over each of the four mantels, lush, rich garlands suspended with gold ribbon cascade to the floor. Beneath each mirror stands a replica of a Presidential homestead.
On the mantel in the northwest corner stands a replica of the home of Rutherford B. Hayes. Located in Fremont, Ohio, this 33-room mansion is known as Spiegel Grove.
The mantel in the northeast corner of the room displays the homestead of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Known as Springwood, in Hyde Park, New York, the home eventually became known as Hyde Park.
On the mantel in the southeast corner next to his portrait stands a replica of the boyhood home of Theodore Roosevelt, known as Sagamore Hill. During his presidency, this home was known as the Summer White House.
On the mantel in the southwest corner stands the homestead known as the Hermitage. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, this lovely plantation belonged to Andrew Jackson and his family.