I’m Dreaming of a White House Christmas

In the spring of 1997, I was invited to an event at the White House where I
prostrated myself before an imposing President Clinton. The following December, I
received a Christmas card from the First Family. The
painting by Thomas McKnight (above), titled “Fantasy Blue Room,”
depicts a cozy living room with the First Animals in repose.
design of the official holiday card is one of the more important design
decisions a President and First Lady must make together. The Clintons
selected a traditional approach, while George W. Bush’s post-9/11 card from 2001
avoids pagan or religious trappings for a more ecumenical vision of the
holiday–photo-realist gifts wrapped in silver and gold (by Adrian Martinez, below). My fave, however, is Herbert Hoover’s
austere snapshot of himself (below middle), taken in the Rose Garden in
the summer of 1931 as the Great Depression was knocking the flowers off
the bloom. But when it comes to conflating patriotism and season’s
greetings, you can’t beat the selection by George Bush Sr. and Barbara
(bottom). For more Presidential cards visit here, and also check out the video of lighting the national menorah–you don’t even need a security clearance.

Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.