NPS Creates Ornaments for White House Holiday Tree

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Date: November 29, 2007
Contact: Gregg Bruff, 906-387-2607, ext. 209

The 2007 White House tree ornament features oil paintings of three lakeshore scenic areas. With a hemlock tree as a background, it is held by its artist, PRNL Chief of Heritage Education Gregg Bruff
Gregg Bruff, artist for the PRNL ornament for White House tree

NPS photo

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is prominently displayed on this year’s official White House Christmas Tree. The tree is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations celebrating the theme of “Holiday in the National Parks.”

"It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and Mrs. Bush,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. “Mrs. Bush is the best champion for our national parks, and the beautiful decorations in each state room showcase the natural and historical treasures found in parks throughout the country.” 

The tree, located in the Blue Room, is adorned with handmade ornaments representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites. “Each ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist selected by the park,” said Bomar. “The ornaments tell the stories of our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation.”

Each NPS area received a six inch gold tree ornament to decorate. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Chief of Heritage Education Gregg Bruff was selected to create the lakeshore’s ornament. “As an active member of the area’s growing arts community, Gregg was a natural choice,” remarked Lakeshore Superintendent Jim Northup.

The ornament is decorated in professional grade oil paint and signifies three main features of the Lakeshore – the Pictured Rocks cliffs, two hikers at Twelvemile, and the Au Sable Light Station. The three scenes represent the rich variety of natural and cultural resources protected within the Lakeshore. 

“Each of the scenes blend into one another as the influence of humans on the landscape and the land on residents and visitors is certainly a compelling story of this place,” said Gregg.       

The White House holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural, and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service. Models of icons such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty share space with paintings of scenic vistas from Grand Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Holiday garlands intertwined with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves add to each room’s festive feel.  

A highlight of the decorations is a scaled-down, but architecturally accurate, gingerbread reproduction of the south view of the White House, a unit of the National Park Service. The edible masterpiece includes Bush family pets Barney, Miss Beazley, and Willie frolicking on the lawn with moose, elk, raccoons, and other animals found in national parks. 

“National Parks commemorate the people, places, and events that define the American experience,” said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. “I am so appreciative of President Bush’s efforts to recognize the important role of national parks in American society. Our country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and the President has been instrumental in establishing the National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare the parks for the next century.”

This gold globe ornament is adorned with three scenes from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and is destined for the White House Christmas tree.
Ornament for the White House Christmas tree featuring three scenes from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

NPS photo

Celebrating the 2007 holiday season, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose in front of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House
Celebrating the 2007 holiday season, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose in front of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House

White House photo by Eric Draper

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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