News & Politics

This Year’s White House Christmas Ornament Honors John F. Kennedy

And no, it's not trolling President Trump.

Photograph courtesy the White House Historical Association.

The 2020 White House Christmas ornament features Aaron Shikler’s posthumous painting of John F. Kennedy. The 35th President’s solemn portrait, as befits his interrupted presidency, was unlike those of his predecessors—Shikler said in 1981 that it “stands out among all those God-forsaken postage-stamp portraits hanging in the White House.” The ornament will hang on the White House Christmas tree.

And no, the selection of a Democrat (and the only US President who was a Catholic—if Joe Biden wins, he’ll be the second) isn’t necessarily a swipe at President Trump, or his wife, Melania Trump, who was quoted by a former friend saying “who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff.” The White House Historical Association, which stresses that it is nonpartisan and nonprofit, chooses each year’s ornament, designs one to honor a past President, or chooses to commemorate an important White House anniversary, such as the laying of the residence’s cornerstone. Last year’s ornament honored Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower.

The group is working its way through the country’s list of Presidents. If the schedule holds, Trump will get his own ornament in 2030.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.