Holiday ornaments depicting scenes from the national parks are dangling from the White House Christmas tree, a nod to the National Park Service's upcoming centennial.
The ornaments from across the park system were designed by artists -- some active-duty rangers, some retired, some professional artists.
“It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and Mrs. Bush,” said Park Service Director Mary Bomar. “Mrs. Bush is the best champion for our national parks, and the beautiful decorations in each state room showcase the natural and historical treasures found in parks throughout the country.”
Throughout the White House holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural, and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service. Models of icons such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty share space with paintings of scenic vistas from Grand Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain national parks. Holiday garlands intertwined with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves add to each room’s festive feel.
The official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, an 18-foot-tall Fraser fir from North Carolina, is adorned with 347 handmade ornaments depicting national parks. “Each ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist selected by the park,” said Bomar. “The ornaments tell the stories of our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation.”
The resulting ornaments vary greatly in design, from one that depicts the Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park to another that captures the jaw-dropping horizon at Grand Teton National Park.
Accompanying the White House Christmas tree is a scaled-down, but architecturally accurate, gingerbread reproduction of the south view of the White House, a unit of the National Park Service. Bush family pets Barney, Miss Beazley, and Willie can be seen frolicking on the lawn with moose, elk, raccoons, and other animals found in national parks.
You can see how some of the ornaments turned out at this site. Plus, the Traveler will be featuring an ornament a day on its home page during the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, replicas of these ornaments are not for sale.