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A Red, White and Blue Christmas

2008 Program Graphic

State Dining Room

Abraham Lincoln presides over this elegant room, where presidents and first ladies have entertained official guests throughout the history of this grand old home.

As the White House is both office and home for our presidents, affairs of state have sometimes been interrupted by family matters. A story has it that when Lincoln's youngest son Tad found out that his beloved pet turkey Jack was going to be the main course for Christmas dinner, he burst into one of his father's cabinet meetings and begged him to spare his turkey such a tragic fate. President Lincoln pardoned Jack, inspiring the annual tradition of the Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon.

Each year White House residents and visitors eagerly await the one-of-a-kind gingerbread house in the State Dining Room. White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Assistant Pastry Chef Susie Morrison have crafted the southern view of the White House with the patriotic theme as their inspiration. Hundreds of pounds of chocolate, more than 150 gingerbread sheets and countless hours of hard work went into this masterful and delicious creation.

Cookies dressed as members of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps march in front of the house, bringing to life an American tradition that dates to colonial times. You can almost hear the faint whistling of their flutes and rat-a-tat of their drums stirring crowds to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." And if you look closely, you'll see Santa's helpers — Barney, Miss Beazley and Willie — landing on the roof of the White House just in time for Christmas!