Jenna Bush Hager misses her “Ganny” most at Christmastime.
In a new essay for Southern Living magazine, the former first daughter and Today show host, 36, shared sweet memories of celebrating the holidays with her late grandmother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died in April at 92.
Jenna fondly writes of childhood trips to the White House and Camp David to visit her grandmother and her grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, 94, during the holiday season.
“On Christmas Eve, we drove to Camp David, the Presidential retreat in Maryland. The cabins, named after the trees in the area (Aspen, Red Oak, Maple, Elm), were just the right size for each of our families,” she recalls. “We gathered in the main cabin, Laurel Lodge, for good food and plenty of laughter.”
But Jenna says that this Christmas, the Bush family’s first one without the beloved matriarch, will be bittersweet.
“This Christmas, our first without Ganny, I’m nostalgic for the days when we were together,” Jenna writes. “This time of year is full of love but for those who have recently lost someone, that loss is illuminated.”
The former first daughter also revealed that her grandmother had hand-stitched beautiful homemade Christmas stockings for Jenna’s daughters, Mila, 5, and Poppy, 3.
“When I imagine my Ganny, I think of her hands busy (usually her mouth too) as she meticulously needlepointed. She worked on many projects, but her most precious were stockings for her great-grandchildren,” Jenna writes, adding that Mila’s stocking is traditional, “with her name stitched in cursive next to poinsettias,” while Poppy’s features a Christmas cat “watching Santa suspiciously, as only cats can do.”