The White House Historical Association Reveals Official 2021 White House Ornament

Apr 01, 2021

Annual ornament commemorates President Lyndon Johnson’s time in the White House and features 1967 White House Christmas in the Blue Room as well as one of Johnson’s most compelling quotes calling for voting rights.

April 1, 2021 (Austin, TX) — Today the White House Historical Association (WHHA) revealed the Official 2021 White House Ornament. This year’s annual collectible commemorates President Lyndon Johnson’s years in the White House and features a Christmas tree in the White House Blue Room. The tree is part of a painting that was the front of the 1967 White House Christmas card.

A quote from President Johnson is also featured on one side of the ornament: “Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.” The president spoke these words to a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, calling on legislators to support a bill that would protect the right to vote and outlaw discriminatory measures that prevented African Americans from voting.

The Texas bluebonnets and cherry blossom designs framing President Johnson’s quote are inspired by Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification programs on the White House Grounds and throughout the nation’s capital.

“To spend holiday seasons in the White House was a privilege and a gift,” said Luci Baines Johnson, the youngest daughter of President Johnson. “This year’s ornament evokes all the historic memories our family shared in those years, and we’re honored to have that time commemorated on this year’s Official White House Ornament.”

She continued, “As president, my father had an unwavering commitment to social justice. It is deeply fitting for his commemoration on this year’s Official White House Ornament to feature his historic 1965 remarks to the Congress. For me, it is a very sentimental journey because I had the privilege of a lifetime to witness the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”

“Holidays at the White House were always a special time. It was a time that everybody celebrated. We celebrated with the White House staff. We had choirs come in and sing. It was just such a joyous time,” said Lynda Johnson Robb, former First Lady of Virginia and the eldest daughter of President Johnson. “The quote that the [WHHA] has on the back of the Christmas Ornament does reflect what he felt that his mission was, at once the oldest and the most basic of this country.”

This year’s White House Ornament is a wonderful remembrance coming fifty years after the LBJ Presidential Library opened to the public in May 1971. "We are delighted that the White House Historical Association has chosen to honor President Johnson with such an exquisite ornament featuring some of his most inspiring words,” said Mark Lawrence, Director of the LBJ Presidential Library. “And no year could be more fitting than 2021, the fiftieth anniversary of the LBJ Presidential Library."

ORNAMENT PHOTOS:
See and download high-resolution images of the Official White House Christmas Ornament here. Please credit: David Wiegold Photography and WHHA.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY:
LBJ Library Director Mark Lawrence is available to talk to news media about this year’s WHHA Ornament, its relevance to President Johnson’s legacy, and the 50th anniversary of the LBJ Library.

To schedule, contact [email protected], 512-731-2351

TO PURCHASE:
The Official White House Christmas Ornament is available for sale beginning April 1. Purchase online at the LBJ Store. All proceeds from The Store at LBJ benefit the programming, education initiatives, and exhibits at the LBJ Presidential Library.

CHRISTMAS AT THE JOHNSON WHITE HOUSE 1967:

Photos from the Christmas season here: https://tinyurl.com/9wkc76w2

Video of the Johnson family on Christmas Eve 1967: https://tinyurl.com/erxexfj8

  • The holiday season began on December 9, 1967, with the wedding of Lynda Bird Johnson and Charles Robb in a White House ceremony. Some of the wedding decorations were reused to adorn the White House for Christmas.
  • Christmas 1967 was the first White House Christmas for the Johnson family. After becoming president four years earlier, President Johnson preferred to spend the holidays at his ranch in Stonewall, Texas. In 1967, however, Lady Bird convinced him to spend the holiday at the White House instead, so the family celebrated the season in Washington, DC. On Christmas Eve, the family opened presents in the Yellow Oval Room.
  • Christmas 1967 was also the first time President and Mrs. Johnson celebrated with a grandchild. Patrick Lyndon Nugent was born to Luci Baines Johnson and her husband, Patrick Nugent, in June 1967. The six-month-old spent his first Christmas at the White House.
  • Christmas 1967 saw another newcomer to the Johnson household: Yuki, the abandoned white mixed-breed dog that Luci found at a Hill Country gas station. Luci gave Yuki to her father as a birthday present earlier in the year. In the spirit of the season, Yuki wore a dapper green holiday outfit while posing in front of the Blue Room Christmas tree.

White House Historical Association Christmas Ornament:

  • The ornament is 100% handcrafted in the USA and made from solid brass with a 24-karat gold finish.
  • Mrs. Johnson requested that Robert H. Laessig, a staff designer for American Greetings, paint the official Christmas tree displayed in the Blue Room for the White House Christmas cards and gift prints of 1967.
  • The Johnsons ordered 2,600 presidential Christmas cards and 3,000 gift prints.
  • Decorations for the tree feature early American design. First created in 1964, the Johnsons repeated the decorations and theme every year of his presidency.
  • This one of a kind ornament is sold at the LBJ Store for $38. All proceeds from The Store at LBJ benefit the programming, education initiatives, and exhibits at the LBJ Presidential Library.
  • Since 1981, the White House Historical Association has designed and manufactured the Official White House Christmas Ornament. Each year, the ornament commemorates a President’s time in the White House (in sequential order) or a significant White House anniversary. The Official White House Ornament is traditionally hung in the White House. Collecting and gifting these ornaments has become a holiday tradition for millions. Now in its 60th year, the White House Historical Association is a private, nonpartisan non-profit organization that protects, preserves and provides public access to the People’s House.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit www.whitehousehistory.org.

To learn more about the LBJ Library, please visit www.lbjlibrary.org

Media contact:
Anne Wheeler
LBJ Presidential Library & LBJ Foundation
[email protected]
512-731-2351