Obamas Pioneer Recycling Christmas Ornaments – After the Bushes, Clintons, Reagans, Nixons, and Kennedys

People Magazine practically slipped over their drool-laden piece yesterday involving First Lady Michelle Obama's decision to recycle ornaments for the White House Christmas tree.  The opening statement of this piece is so very complimentary of this novel decision, you'd think it was a decision that qualifies Mrs. Obama as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.  (Cause that's a little ridiculous, no?) 

It reads:

"It used to be that Christmas at the White House dazzled visitors with the glitter of thousands of fairy lights. But not this year. Not in this economy and not with this practical-minded first lady."

Apparently, first ladies of years past had celebrated Christmas in the White House with a total disregard for the economy and the environment. 

Not so, however...

Shortly after the opening paragraph's praising of the current White House Christmas tree, the People article takes a swipe at the Clintons and Bushes for not being more like the Obamas:

"On Wednesday, Michelle Obama debuted a White House whose decked halls were decidedly understated. Where the Bushes and Clintons previously put up a dozen Christmas trees in the mansion's Foyer and Cross Hall alone, there are just seven on the entire State floor this year. The biggest of them - the 18 1/2 foot Douglas fir in the Blue Room - is decorated with recycled ornaments that Mrs. Obama's team dug out of the warehouse where old White House decorations are stored."

However, what the Clintons and Bushes had done previously that was ‘decidedly understated' in this article was, well, use recycled ornaments

In 2003, then first lady Laura Bush introduced the White House Christmas tree with ornaments first used by Barbara Bush in 1989.  In an interview with NBC's Norah O'Donnell on the Today Show in 2003, Laura Bush described the tree as follows:

"It's a beautiful, beautiful tree from Wisconsin, and now it's decorated with ornaments that we actually borrowed from Barbara and Jenna's grandparents, President Bush and Barbara Bush. They were the ornaments that were on their tree their first Christmas here in 1989..."

To the Clintons credit, Hillary Clinton introduced the 2000 tree which featured ornaments from the First Lady's past.

In 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy reused ornaments from the previous year's tree. 

Nancy Reagan and Pat Nixon also somehow managed to use ornaments from the past.

Recycling ornaments for the White House Christmas tree is hardly a new or novel idea.  Yet in reading this piece, one would think that the Obama's had invented the concept.

White House aides state that the Obama's "toned-down décor was both a nod to the tough economic times and Mrs. Obama's interest in environmentalism." 

Is it safe to say that they were unable to ‘nod to the tough economic times' nearly a year ago when they had celebrated with the most expensive inaugural celebration in history?  Perhaps they had a crick in their necks when they were celebrating passage of the $787 billion stimulus plan with $100 wagyu steaks. 

Even more amusing in this tale of Christmas thrift, is the mention of the 17 planned holiday parties at the White House - another ‘decidedly understated' holiday decision.  However, factoring in an additional 11 open houses, the Obama's are hosting 28 events and expecting over 50,000 guests.

In contrast, President Bush in 2005 hosted 26 holiday parties with over 9,000 guests.  In 2008, a poll suggested that one way President Bush could show an understanding of America's tough economic times, was to cancel the annual Christmas parties. 

Will anybody be suggesting this to the Obama's?

And for those liberals who think that this Christmas criticism is a little too Grinch-like in nature, I'd like to introduce you to the phrase tongue-in-cheek.

Photo Credit:  J. Scott Applewhite/AP