Unique and Collectible: White House Christmas ornaments tell the story of America

National News

RHODE ISLAND (KFDX/KJTL) — The production line is humming as dozens of employees work long hours to make this year’s white house Christmas ornament.

ChemArt president, David Marquis said, “it’s really exciting to see what we can accomplish.”

Dave Marquis is president of ChemArt, a second-generation veteran-owned, family business in lincoln Rhode Island.

ChemArt began producing 1,500 white house themed ornaments in 1981 at the request of first lady Nancy Reagan. This year they are approaching one million, all put together by hand.

Marquis said, “there are people putting this together using a tab and slot system that we’ve put together with a pair of pliers.”

They release a new design every year, paying tribute to the presidents in sequential order. The first ornament honored George Washington. The 1999 ornament features the portrait of Abraham Lincoln hanging in the state dining room. The 2008 Benjamin Harrison ornament marks the first traditional Christmas tree in the White House. The 2019 ornament is unlike the rest, a three-dimensional helicopter on the White House South Lawn.

Marquis said, “every year is exciting with the white house but I think this is one of the most exciting because it puts our technology to the limit.”

It’s a tribute to president number 34, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Stewart McLaurin with the White House Historical Association said, “he was the first American president to use a helicopter for presidential travel.”

And the president of the White House Historical Association believes this year’s ornament honors some of the most iconic images that come from the White House.

McLaurin said, “when you see that majestic helicopter fly in and land on the South Lawn of the White House and the president and the first family disembark. It reminds you that this represents the United States of America.”

To purchase an ornament, click here.

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