Which American President Banned Christmas Trees in the White House?

The White House traditionally decorates for the Christmas holidays.
The White House traditionally decorates for the Christmas holidays.

The White House has always been one of the symbols of American power and heritage since it is the seat of the executive, the President. The first family leads other families in the United States to mark important holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration. Speaking of Christmas, the Christmas tree is among the customary items used in the winter celebrations as it is draped in decorations and gifts. But there was a time when the Christmas tree was not used in the White House to mark the start of Christmas. The President responsible for the ban was Theodore Roosevelt who occupied the house from 1901 to 1908.

Reasons For The Ban

President Theodore Roosevelt gets the distinction of having served as the 26th American President after a string of public service that spanned 26 years. He came to office after the assassination of President William McKinley whom he served as his Vice President. While his reign did not have the challenges that any American president faced before and after him, it was his decision to ban the use of the Christmas tree during the customary White House Christmas celebration. His environment conservation policies made him avoid using the Christmas tree as a way of leading by example. As a result, the tree was not ordered by the White House.

Description Of The Tree

Despite the ban, many American families continued to use the tree during Christmas celebrations. After Roosevelt exited the White House at the end of his term, the tree was returned to the blue room and it is decorated by the White House staff using decorations sent by the American people. Before the start of the Christmas period, the tree is selected from the growers of trees around the states and the chosen one is delivered to the White House after going through the certain procedures. North Carolina holds the prestige of having delivered 12 trees used in the White House. Due to its height, sometimes there is a need to make adjustments by removing the chandeliers for the tree to fit the requirement. Currently, the height is no more than eighteen feet. There is always more than one tree in the White House but only one gets the honor of being displayed in the blue room.

Controversial Moments

Controversies had dogged the tree even before the Roosevelt ban. His predecessor William McKinley received letters, some of which were posted in national dailies, urging him to drop the use of the tree for Christmas because it is a historically German tradition. During the Nixon era, the omission of the traditional star for a tree topper brought some consternation and criticism. Decorations sent to the White House but were rejected have been the subject of controversies owing to their political undertones. One of them was a decoration made by an artist from Seattle, Washington called Deborah Lawrence. It was rejected in 2008 due to the inscriptions on it, which called for the impeachment of the then president, George Bush.


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