BRISTOL - The Christmas trees, decorations and holiday greeting cards of the different presidents over the years were showcased as part of a special program "White House Christmas Traditions" as part of the Bristol Public Library's 100th anniversary this year.
The library has held different events and speakers this year for the anniversary.
Jeri Diehl Cusack, who has served on the Board of the Grandview Heights / Marble Cliff Historical Society and is a retired public librarian, was the most recent speaker and talked about how various holiday traditions have evolved at the White House.
Cusack highlighted the presidential families' choices of greeting cards and staff gifts.
''Christmas celebrations at the White House have been impacted by times of war, and the effects of every changing technology,'' she said noting many of the president's White House events have been televised as part of the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C.
This year's national Christmas tree lighting event will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 6.
Cusack said in 1961, First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy had a Nutcracker-themed tree in the Blue Room of the White House. A themed tree continued each year with the Fords, Carters, Reagans, Clintons and other presidents.
There have been tours of the White House during the holidays but security has changed over the years, she said.
Cusack said other highlights include:
In the 1800s, President John and Abigail Adams were the first presidential couple to live in the White House and the first to hold a Christmas celebration there;
In 1895, was the first time electric lights were used on a Christmas tree;
In 1959, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower had 26 trees throughout the White House;
In 1974, First Lady Betty Ford recycled ornaments for the tree.
In 1977, and 1978 the President Jimmy and Roselyn Carter had trees with special ornaments made by children with disabilities;
Cusack said the tree inside the White House was 20-feet high and anchored to the ceiling. She said President Calvin Coolidge started the tradition of a 48 foot high fir tree with 2,500 lights. Wood from the trees were salvaged and made into wooden fire engines a gifts.
Cusack said during the war years of 1942 and 1943 to save on electricity handmade decorations were used on the trees. In 1979 and 1980 during the Iranian hostage period trees were unlit.
Cusack said gifts from the presidential families have varied over the years from leather bookmarks to portraits and keyholders.
Jaqueline Kennedy had special holiday cards sent out as a fundraiser for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Cusack said a rare 1963 Christmas card that was signed by both President John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy before he died that year in November is quite rare.
"They were never mailed out. Thirty cards were believed to be signed by both of them and are extremely valuable," she said.
Cusack's son-in-law's aunt, Leoma Lovegrove of Florida, made a ornament for the White House in 2008.
"It was a real honor for her to be chosen,'' she said.
Cusack said the White House in more recent years has been more inclusive of other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Cheryl French, co-manger at the library, said as part of the anniversary a basket raffle is being held through Dec. 10 and, near the end of the year, treats will be given to library patrons.