The White House Historical Association’s 2020 Official White House Christmas Ornament honors John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president of the United States. The youngest president since Theodore Roosevelt, Kennedy took office in January 1961, at age 43. Before his vibrant presidency was cut short on November 22, 1963, he had reinvigorated the American spirit. His legacy lives on in his youthful belief in America and his faith in America’s responsibilities to the world. With this ornament, we remember President Kennedy through his posthumous official White House portrait, made in 1970 by Aaron Shikler, the artist selected by the president’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. The portrait, symbolic of his unfinished presidency, hangs in the White House today. Shikler recalled that Mrs. Kennedy did not want the portrait to look the way other artists had portrayed him. “I painted him with his head bowed, not because I think of him as a martyr,” Shikler said, “but because I wanted to show him as a president who was a thinker. . . . All presidential portraits have eyes that look right at you. I wanted to do something with more meaning. I hoped to show a courage that made him humble.”
*White House ornaments are NOT eligible for Oval Namedrop.