print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
 Home > Holidays

A Red, White and Blue Christmas

2008 Program Graphic

"Christmas is a time to rejoice, and to give thanks for the blessings of the season and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year."

– President George W. Bush

East Wing

Uncle Sam welcomes visitors to the White House for "A Red, White and Blue Christmas!" This grand icon of America was inspired by Samuel Wilson, a New York businessman who supplied American soldiers with barrels of food marked "U.S." during the War of 1812. When asked what these initials stood for, one of Wilson’s workers replied, "Uncle Sam Wilson!"

Santa's in the patriotic spirit, too! He's landed in the East Garden Room to deliver his bundle of red, white and blue presents – including that ever-popular gift, the teddy bear. "Teddy's bear" was created after President Theodore Roosevelt made national headlines for declining to shoot a bear during a hunting trip in 1902.

America's national bird, the bald eagle, is featured throughout the White House. Along the windows of the East Colonnade, eagles carry snowcovered wreaths in their talons. As you stroll through our celebration of red, white and blue, look for decorative eagles painted on presidential china or carved into furniture and architectural elements.

Official Christmas cards from first families, part of the permanent White House collection, are on display in the East Foyer. This year’s holiday card, by T. Allen Lawson, depicts a winter-time view from the Truman Balcony of the South Lawn with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial in the distance.