Christmas Day is one of the most favorite American holidays It is celebrated on December 25. Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans "here also a tradition to place a decorated Christmas tree in the White House, the official home in Washington D.C. of the President of the USA.
The tradition of placing a decorated tree in the White House began in 1889 on Christmas morning during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison. The President's grandchildren young Benjamin and Mary McKee, led the Harrison household into the second floor Oval Room to take a look at the first White House Christmas tree. It was lit with candles. Filled stockings hung from the mantel. Presents, candy and nuts were distributed to family and staff. President Harrison gave turkeys and gloves to his employees. He received a silver-dollar-shaped picture holder from his daughter, Mame Harrison McKee.
What began as a family gathering has become a national tradition. Over the years, the White House Christmas tree has reflected both the times and the tastes of the First Family. First Lady Frances Cleveland created a "technology savvy" tree in 1895 when she hung electric lights on the White House tree. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of Christmas Tree themes when she decorated the 1961 Christmas tree in toy trimmings from the Nutcracker Suite ballet by Tchaikovsky.
Today, the First Lady selects a theme and taps the talents of American artisans, who give life to the idea. Laura Bush chose "Home for the Holidays" for the 2001 theme, which features replicas of the family homes of the nation's Presidents. The Presidents Christmas tree can be viewed by anyone either in the news programs, or on the official web site of the White House.
a decorated Christmas tree — украшенная рождественская елка
to be lit with candles — быть зажженным свечами
a silver-dollar-shaped picture holder — рамка для фотографии (картинки) в форме монеты достоинством в 1 доллар
a "technology savvy" — «технология смекалки»
a nutcracker — щелкунчик
an artisan (s) — ремесленник, мастер
a replica (s) — точная копия
to view smth — смотреть что-либо