Gerald Ford was sworn into office as the 38th President of the United States in the East Room. President Ford worked at Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1936 and is the only American President to have served as a park ranger in the National Park Service. He later recalled, I remember as a ranger the first time I stood alone on Inspiration Point over at Canyon Station looking out over this beautiful land. I thought to myself how lucky I was that my parents and grandparents generation had the vision and the determination to save it for us. During his time in the White House, he worked to preserve and enhance our national parks, adding 19 new areas to the National Park System as well as enlarging other areas.
Gold birds and glass pine cones decorate the trees framing the crèche. Each holiday season since 1967, this marvelous nativity scene has had a place of honor in the East Room. Made primarily in Italy in the 18th century, the figures representing the story of the birth of Christ are made of terra cotta and carved wood and were given to the White House by Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.
Garland intertwined with golden aspen leaves and glowing lights border the doors and the mirrors above the mantels in the East Room. Wreaths of mixed holiday greenery are suspended by gold ribbons in each window, and arrangements of white amaryllis in vermeil vases complement the gilded candelabras on the serving table.