Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ornament Time --1

For the next few posts, I will be featuring ornaments from my Christmas tree.  This is one way I can savor these decorations that only come out once a year. Each post will feature a group of ornaments related by a common theme. 

The Parade of Ornaments--The White House Series

The White House Historical Association, which was was founded by Jackie Kennedy in 1961 with a mission of protecting, preserving, and providing public access to history of the White House, puts out an ornament every year honoring a certain President. We have five of these that were gifts from a coworker and friend of Ward's.

Each one comes with literature discussing the symbolism of the ornament, a bio of the president it is commemorating, and what life was like with his family in the White House. Very interesting reading and who doesn't want a history lesson while they're decorating the tree? :)

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James A. Garfield


Ornament 2005 honors President James A. Garfield. He was our 20th president and was elected in 1891. He served less than a year before he was shot and later died.  The color scheme and wreath design on the ornament are from art objects including china, needlework and historic frames from the family home in Ohio. The pattern on the box is based on wallpaper from this house, also.The JAG monogram is from decorations at his inaugural ball and the ceramic stone in the middle was inspired by a period engraving of the South Front of the White House.


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Chester A. Arthur
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Ornament 2006 honors Chester A. Arthur, our 21st president. Arthur became President in 1881 after the untimely death of James Garfield. The country was recovering economically during that time and Arthur's White House was a luxurious one. The ornament design is inspired by several motifs in the White House during Arthur's residence, many of which were designed by Louis Tiffany.

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Grover Cleveland


2007--Front
2007--Back

Ornament 2009 remembers Grover Cleveland, who was our 22nd and 24th president. He was elected elected in both 1885 and 1893 and was the only U.S. president elected two non-consecutive terms. Cleveland was also the only President married in the White House. The front of this ornament is a reproduction of an engraving of that event. The back is his bride, Frances Folsom's, monogram. 

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Benjamin Harrison


 Ornament 2008 honors Benjamin Harrison. Harrison was our 23rd president, elected in 1889. The ornament is based on the family's Christmas tree which was the first recorded decorated tree in the White House. The toys beneath the tree are presents Harrison's grandchildren received for Christmas.

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Grover Cleveland

2009--Front
2009--BackThis ornament honors Grover Cleveland's second term as President starting in 1893.  It features the south facade of the White House where you can see a lit Christmas tree through the windows of the Oval Room. This was the first time electric lights were used on a White House tree. The back creates a scene from a tree trimming party that the Clevelands held annually for their children and those of the Cabinet members.


So there you have it. The leaders of the Ornament parade. This was harder than I thought it would be.  It took me a while to locate all five ornaments on the tree for pictures, and I hadn't realized that the back of some of the ornaments had significance, also. I guess you might say that I was taking a Second Look at them. I wonder what else I will discover.


11 comments:

  1. I had no idea that an ornament was put out every year to honor a presidency. What a great idea! I think I like the Benjamin Harrison one best. Do you have a favorite?

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    1. I think the tree for Harrison is my favorite also. All of the ornaments are very pretty and very intricate. And there is not one detail that doesn't relate to something with that president. Very interesting. I should leave out this year after Christmas and really take time to study them. With all of the ornaments we have, I don't much time looking at them usually.

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  2. I LOVE this! I may have mentioned this before, but when I was a kid we had a board game called "Meet the Presidents" - It was sorta like Trivial Pursuit, only it was just about presidential history. I don't remember anything I learned from the game, but I did at least learn the names of most of them.

    Anyhow, you've inadvertently triggered my internal radio - a flashback to my bluegrass days. So since I believe in "sharing the joy" here's a little ditty for you:
    https://youtu.be/rKcJbGhLPG0

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    1. You are so much fun! I had to click over to your bluegrass song. :)

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    2. Great song and so appropriate. :)

      I remember a card game we had about the Presidents. But I don't remember much I learned from it.

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  3. Another nice legacy from Jackie Kennedy. Loved the bluegrass, too.

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    1. She was an elegant lady with purpose, wasn't she?

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  4. The history lesson from the ornaments is interesting. Collecting ornaments for each President would be wonderful.

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    1. It would be fun, but they're kind of expensive. I'm really happy that we were given these. If I were one who put up several trees, it would be fun to have a president one.

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  5. That was fun! Thank you for sharing your ornaments with us!

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What do you think?