Most Infamous White House Christmas Trees

Who knew decorating a Christmas tree could cause so much trouble? These are some of the most infamous White House Christmas trees.

In Washington, even a Christmas tree has been known to stir controversy. The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse began with President Calvin Coolidge in 1923 and it continues on today. But that tree and the tree inside the White House have seen controversy through the years.


In 1899, William McKinley received letters to not have a tree in the White House, which letter writers referred to as “arboreal infanticide.” Other critics opposed having a Christmas tree because it was a historically German tradition. These are the 10 best real Christmas tree species.


In 1902, Teddy Roosevelt did not order a tree by Dec. 23 so there was no tree. The White House also did not have a tree in 1904, 1907 and 1922.

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In 1969, the ACLU and the American Jewish Congress sued the Christmas Pageant of Peach, Inc. over a nativity scene, saying it amounted to government sponsorship of religion. The suit was later dismissed. Use these handy hints to keep your Christmas tree living through the holiday season.

1972-Christmas_White_House_Treevia National Archives


While Richard Nixon was in office, the administration received criticism when it chose the atomic symbol of peace for the tree topper, instead of a traditional star. Take a look at White House holiday décor through the years.


Former FBI-agent Gary Aldrich alleged in his 1998 book, Unlimited Access, that the 1994 White House tree was decorated with condoms and drug paraphernalia. Former Clinton White House advisor George Stephanopoulos called the book a work of fiction. The 1994 tree featured ornaments made by American art students and had a theme “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Use these Christmas decorating tips to dress up the entire house.

1995-White-House-Christmas-TreeGreg Mathieson/Shutterstock


The Clinton administration had a stir in 1995 when an ornament contest winner designed stockings with the names “Bill” and “Newt” on them. Bill’s stocking referred to President Clinton and had candy and presents stuffed in it. Newt, in reference to Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich had coal inside it. Use these tips to properly decorate a Christmas tree.


In 2008, a red and white striped 9-inch ball ornament with the words, “Impeach Bush” written on it by Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence was rejected. Here’s the right way to string Christmas tree lights.


Melania Trump’s choice of red trees raised a stir in 2018 because of the bold color choice but colored trees have started to take off recently. Check out these 100 incredible Christmas tree decorating ideas for inspiration.

2018-White-House-Christmas-TreeGreg E Mathieson Sr/MAI/Shutterstock