Arts / Museums / Holiday

A White House Christmas in Texas — George W. Bush Presidential Center Takes the Holidays to New Natural Heights

Stunning Scenes, Exclusive Insights and Fun Activities Await

BY Promoted Series Correspondent // 12.01.17

Christmas at the White House is a tradition that shouldn’t be missed. And now you don’t even have to leave Texas to experience it.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas brings the presidential holiday wonder home with its All Things Bright and Beautiful: Christmas at the White House 2005 exhibit. It showcases how then-President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush put their holiday imprint on the White House that year. The exhibit runs through January 7 — and it brings plenty of events and activities with it.

Gorgeous flowers help turn the Bush Presidential Center into a wonderland — and a massive decked-out tree just beckons would-be selfie seekers. Visitors will also find colorful murals, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, Mrs. Bush’s holiday dress and heartwarming Barney (dog) Cam videos.

It’s the holidays come to life as only the White House can do it.

Dressing up the White House for the holidays have been a tradition presidents and first ladies have been partaking in since 1961, when Jacqueline Kennedy decorated a tree in the Blue Room with toys, birds and angels modeled after Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.”

Christmas in Nature

In 2005, Mr. and Mrs. Bush pulled off a stunning beauty-in-nature theme — one that fits right in at a Presidential Center that is surrounded by a 14-acre Native Texas Park. Inspired by a 19th century hymn that became the title of a book by Yorkshire veterinarian James Herriot, Mrs. Bush wanted to show how gathering natural, organic decorations and ornaments can be just as breathtaking as any store-bought trinkets. She used fresh flowers, fruits and plants to make the White House sparkle in a way it never quite had before.

As the exhibit shows, the Bushes clearly reached her goal of showing “how beautiful nature is and how many things we can use from our own gardens or woods.”

The towering Christmas tree in the Presidential Center’s Blue Room is a natural showstopper in its own right. It is an 18-foot recreation of the 2005 White House Christmas tree, complete with 500 white lilies, glass bead garland and crystal-clear ball ornaments. There is another even larger tree outside in the Bush Center’s Courtyard that is decorated with ornaments handcrafted by students from Laura Bush Foundation schools in Austin, Houston and Lubbock.

This is the tree you’ll want to get a souvenir or Christmas card photo in front of.

And that’s just the start of the holiday fun. Interested in learning how presidents celebrated Christmas back in the day? Education Docents will be there every Saturday in December (at 9 am, 10:30 am and noon) to share amusing stories about what past leaders of the free world did during the yuletide season. (Andrew Jackson had an indoor snowball fight!)

Holiday decorations in the Cross Hall and East Room at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

There will also be holiday craft sessions and top community choirs are scheduled to perform in the Freedom Hall throughout the season. Not to mention all those flowers and murals, behind-the-scenes photos and videos featuring the Bushes’ late, beloved dog Barney. 

Fittingly, Christmas has never been more presidential — or fun. For more information or tickets, go to www.bushcenter.org/holidays or call 214-346-1650.

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