For nearly 220 years, Christmas has been celebrated in the White House with presidential flair. From low key affairs in the early days of our democracy to today’s decorating extravaganzas, how the holiday was observed varied widely among the families that called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home.

Take the quiz below and test your knowledge of Christmas trivia at America’s most famous residence:


Which president placed the first Christmas tree in the White House, putting it in the Yellow Oval Room and decorating it with toys for his grandchildren?

A.  Thomas Jefferson (1803)

B.   Martin Van Buren (1838)

C.   Benjamin Harrison (1889)

D.  William McKinley (1898)


Which president read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to his small army of grandchildren on Christmas Eve?

A.  Grover Cleveland

B.   Franklin Roosevelt

C.   Dwight Eisenhower

D.  Jimmy Carter


One president, a famous conservationist, supposedly banned Christmas trees from the White House because he opposed cutting down live trees for that purpose. His young son smuggled in a small tree and hid it in an upstairs closet. Who was that president?

A. James Madison

B. James Buchanan

C. James Garfield

D. Theodore Roosevelt


Which president threw one of the most elaborate Christmas parties ever, a “frolic” for his grandchildren that included dancing, a banquet, and a giant indoor snowball fight utilizing specially made cotton “snowballs”?

 A. Andrew Jackson (1835)

B.  James Polk (1846)

C.   Millard Fillmore (1852)

D.   Andrew Johnson (1867)


Which president first placed electric lights on a Christmas tree?

A.  Ulysses Grant (1876)

B.   Grover Cleveland (1894)

C.   William McKinley (1899)

D.  William Howard Taft (1909)


In perhaps the worst White House holiday season ever, a fire broke out in the West Wing during a White House children’s party on Christmas Eve. Who was president during the blaze?

A.  Theodore Roosevelt (1902)

B.   Warren Harding (1921)

C.   Herbert Hoover (1929)

D.  Harry Truman (1949)


Which first lady began the tradition of creating an official White House Christmas Tree Ornament each holiday?

A.  Lucy Hayes

B.   Ida McKinley

C.   Eleanor Roosevelt

D.  Nancy Reagan


Which first lady began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas Tree?

A.  Eleanor Roosevelt

B.   Bess Truman

C.   Mamie Eisenhower

D.  Jacqueline Kennedy


Which president first presided over the lighting of the National Christmas Tree?

A. Warren Harding

B.  Calvin Coolidge

C.  Herbert Hoover

D.  Franklin Roosevelt


Which first couple are believed to have hosted the first-ever White House Christmas party (for their four year-old granddaughter)?

A.  George and Martha Washington (1795)

B.   John and Abigail Adams (1800)

C.   James and Dolley Madison (1814)

D.  Abraham and Mary Lincoln (1862)


Answers: 1-C, 2-B, 3-D, 4-A, 5-B, 6-C, 7-D, 8-D, 9-B, 10-B