List of Washington Area Holiday Happenings 2008

(Julia Ewan - The Washington Post)
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Compiled by Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 28, 2008

When it comes to the holidays in the nation's capital, it's hard not to think of the White House. After all, the National Christmas Tree stands as a towering testament to the season in its back yard.

In that spirit, we decided to hang a little White House history as well as tinsel on our tree. A selection of ornaments created each year since 1981 by the White House Historical Association decorate the pages of Weekend's annual guide to concerts, light displays and "Messiah" singalongs.

The White House ornaments honor a different president each year and like the season capture a mixture of moments -- from playful to poignant. The ornament from 2003, in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, shows a boy riding a rocking horse similar to one Grant's son rode, and the 2007 decoration re-creates the White House wedding of Grover Cleveland.

This year's ornament depicts the first Christmas tree to decorate the White House, during Benjamin Harrison's term in 1889.

Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments go toward buying antiques and artwork of historic significance to be displayed in the White House, including Jacob Lawrence's artwork "The Builders," which was recently purchased for the Green Room at first lady Laura Bush's urging.

We hope that you'll enjoy seeing these snippets of history as you go in search of holiday events that will create a bit of family history for you this year and that you'll keep this guide around the house for holiday planning.

But if it winds up in the recycling, never fear. You can always find holiday cheer at

Wishing you all a merry, bright -- and historical -- holiday season.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company