A Look Back at White House Christmases Through the Years
The Kennedy Years — 1961-1963
President John F. Kennedy hangs a homemade stocking in front of the fireplace in 1962.
The Kennedy Family
Jaqueline, 33, and JFK, 45, gather with family in 1962. From left to right: Caroline, 5; Gustavo Paredes; John Jr., 2; Anthony Radziwill, 3; Prince Stanislas Radziwill, 48; Lee Radziwill, 29; Anna Christina Radziwill, 2.
Caroline, 4, prances around the tree during the family's first White House Christmas in 1961.
A Kennedy Christmas Tree
Jacqueline started the tradition of decorating the White House Christmas tree according to a theme, chosing "Nutcracker Suite" in honor of the ballet for the family's first year in office.
The Johnson Years — 1963-1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson, 59, and Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, 55, — plus their dog, Yuki — admire the tree in the Yellow Oval Room in 1967.
After the death of John F. Kennedy, the Johnsons opted for holiday decor that was comforting and nostalgic, but the First Lady added a touch of glitter to the tree that year with silver balls, silver stars and round mirrors.
The Nixon Years — 1969-1974
During a white Christmas at the White House in 1973, Pat Nixon, 61, and President Richard Nixon, 60, admired a stocky snowman on their lawn.
The Nixon Dogs
The First Lady instituted "Candlelight Tours" of the White House during the holidays for working-class families unable to visit during daytime hours, so they could see the grand trees like this one, in 1971.
The Ford Years — 1974-1977
Betty Ford, 56, poses with President Gerald Ford, 61, in front of the tree during their first Christmas at the White House in 1974.
A Homemade Christmas
The First Lady chose a patchwork theme that Christmas to emphasize frugality and simplicity during the recession, even suggesting Americans make all their ornaments to save money.
The Carter Years — 1977-1981
Rosalynn Carter (here at age 53 with grandchildren Sarah Carter, almost 2, and Jason Carter, 5) chose a Victorian theme for the tree in 1980, adorning it with dolls, hats, fans, tapestries and laces.
The same year she threw one of the White House's largest Christmas parties, a huge event on the South Lawn featuring an entire ice-skating rink.
The Reagan Years — 1981-1989
President Ronald Reagan, 73, and Nancy Reagan, 63, play with their new puppy Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres, in front of the tree in 1984.
Nancy Reagan and Mr. T
The First Lady invited Mr. T to dress as Santa at the children's party in 1983, and then famously sat on his lap and prentended to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.
The George H.W. Bush Years — 1989-1993
A champion of literacy, President George H.W. Bush, 67, reads to his grandchildren on Christmas Eve 1991.
Barbara Bush and Millie
First Lady Barbara Bush, 67, stands with the family's springer spaniel Millie next to the tree in 1992. The theme that year was "Gift-Givers," and White House florists created 88 gift-giving characters to decorate the branches.
The Clinton Years — 1993-2001
Photographed in the State Dining Room, President Bill Clinton, 47, and Hillary Clinton, 46, stand in front of the tree for their holiday greeting card in 1993, the same year they organized the first official menorah lighting at the White House.
First Lady Hillary Clinton holds up a pair of snowman ornaments for 1998's Christmas theme, "A Winter Wonderland."
The George W. Bush Years — 2001-2009
In 2001, the first Christmas after the Sept. 11 attacks, Laura Bush, 55, chose "Home for the Holidays" as the White House theme. Although she began preparations in March, she said, "Home just meant so much more to everyone...after Sept. 11."
That year, the iconic gingerbread house — created by White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier — featured two angels, holding stars, on both sides of an American flag that sat on top of the replica of the presidential home.
Laura and George W. Bush
Laura Bush, 58, and George W. Bush, 58, pose in the Blue Room in front of the 2004 tree. The theme that year was "A Season of Merriment and Melody," and the room was filled with 350 instrument ornaments.
The Obama Years — 2009-Present
Michelle Obama, 45, came up with the theme "Reflect, Rejoice, Renew" in 2009, the first year she and President Barack Obama, 48, spent in the White House.
A Recycled Bo
Michelle had many original ideas during her years as First Lady, including building a replica of the family dog, Bo, out of plastic garbage bags in 2011.
Snowmen Friends or Foes?
In 2015, Michelle had the White House decorators set up 56 "snow people" to represent each of the United States' states and territories, and did it again in 2016.
Barack, though, was apparently not a fan, telling PEOPLE that he finds them "a little creepy."
"There's a whole kind of Chucky element to them," he said.
Once the White House staff learned of the President's aversion, they pranked him by moving one of the snowmen to peek into the Oval Office.
A White House festively decorated for Christmas has been a long-standing American tradition, and that hasn’t changed despite the current political climate. This year’s theme is “Time Honored Traditions,” which is reflected through the iconic 350-pound White House gingerbread house.