On this past President’s Day, the White House Historical Association (WHHA) revealed the 2017 Christmas ornament commemorating the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A collaboration between WHHA and Beacon Design, the ornament depicts a gilded American bald eagle, inspired by the eagle cartouche emblazoned on the podium at his FDR’s first inauguration in 1933, and is cast in shiny brass and plated in nickel and 24-karat gold.
Though the eagle has been a national emblem since 1782, “it was the most dramatic of the 1933 inaugural stand decorations, which also included small representations of the Great Seal and the Union Shield, as well as garlands of bay and magnolia leaves. Roosevelt’s inaugural eagle was surely featured for its historical symbolism and likely enhanced to foreshadow the changes the new president envisioned.”
Other elements on the ornament honor additional aspects of FDR’s life and legacy. Two flags each have 48 stars, representing the number of states in the union during his presidency. Four stars above the eagle represent his four terms in office. The rounded-top silhouette of the ornament is similar to that of a tabletop radio, which Americans used to listen to his Fireside Chats. On the back side of the ornament, FDR’s beloved dog Fala sits next to the Christmas tree and presents. Each ornament is packaged with a 12-page booklet that highlights FDR and his family’s time in the White House during the Great Depression and World War II.
The White House Historical Association was founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy as way to promote awareness, appreciation, and preservation of the White House, its furnishings and artwork, and the abundant history that has taken place within. It’s fundraising efforts have evolved over time the way to include a wide variety of retail items, from jewelry and apparel, writing instruments and framed prints, to its annual Christmas collectible ornament. Though holiday-oriented, the WHHA introduces its annual ornament every February and is available for sale year-round. Ornaments from previous years are continually available at its retail shops and online as well, and are popular collectors items with millions sold over the years.
The White House Historical Association has partnered with Beacon Design since the beginning of the ornament program in 1981. For over 37 years Beacon Design and the Association have collaborated to create unique keepsakes made in the USA, that commemorate the American presidency. From initial concepts, production samples, and packaging design, to final production and shipping, Beacon Design has worked with the Association to see their unique concepts and ideas come to life. We are proud to be part of such an amazing institution and one of the largest fundraising programs of its kind!
The FDR ornament is available through both the White House Historical Association’s online and retail shops, as well as through Beacon Design direct for retailers and organizations outside of the Beltway.