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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 22, 1929, Image 81

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1929-12-22/ed-1/seq-81/

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Christmas at the Hoovers’
In the Household of the First Family of the Land Christmas Is an Old-Fashioned\
Simple, Personally-Prepared Holiday, With Members of the Family Gathering the
Yuletide Decorations, Trimming the Tree and Preparing Gifts and Surprises.
jm rm- R. HOOVER, as
/■ /t President, does
/a/ m not seek a new
/ W M kind of Christ
s “ mas. He sticks to
the simple, old-fashioned con
ception of It. . Like a clear
stream running through a
tangled forest, the true spirit
of Christmas has carried for
ward through centuries of life's
ever - Increasing complexity.
Oxen of today are satisfied with
what satisfied the oxen of Beth
lehem's manger. But set the
present world of motor cars and
refrigerators, of cable and radio
and airplane, against that of
the shepherds and the wise men
and we have a picture of the
ever-growing, forever unsatis
fied aspirations of man. Over
whelmed by the complexity of
the social structure humanity is
rearing, some of us are likely to
lose a true perspective. Not so
the President.
He sees that it is not what
this amazing complexity of de
velopment has added to our
daily living that has made
Christmas carry down the cen
turies to us, but, on the con
trary, just its primally simple
and beautiful—the forever the
same—spirit of good will toward
men which finds most perfect
expression in simplest terms.
With his genius for stripping
off non-essentials, he keeps
close to the age-old heart of
IN the Hoover household
. Christmas is a festival. It
means a tree, decorations, color
and gayety. The President loves
that aspect of it. And he knows
that it can only be a true festi
val if we ourselves prepare this
background. So he has long had
the habit of going out into the
country in search of the green
ery and bright berries, the nuts
and fruits and vegetables which
provide such a holiday setting.
With a couple of cars—some
times more—piled full of chil
dren and friends, and provided
with necessary hatchets and
saws, he sets off to find some
remote part of a wood or over
grown place which would be
made better by a certain
amount of thinning out. The
gatherers have vivid memories
of their leader standing tiptoe,
stick in hand, patiently trying
to lure down a certain leafy
branch, or leaping into the air
to win a nut, or fording a
stream to capture some other
prize. One of them heard him
remark recently, and with a
certain wistfulness, as he sur
veyed his new estate from the
rear portico of the White House,
“Very beautiful, but I don’t see
a single nut tree on the whole
The pleasure in personal prep
aration of the holiday scene
binds like a golden cord all the
varied expression of the Hoovers’ Christmas
day. The tree Is not trimmed by somebody
else—it is trimmed by the family. It may not
be as elaborate as somebody else's tree, but it
is the Hoover tree. Down the years has come
a traditional division of trimming labor. There
is the familiar annual dispute about whether
the star or the angel shall top the tree, with
victory going angelward one year and starward
the next. But for years now there has been no
discussion as to which family member “irosts.”
Long ago. when the first magical tinsel strips
appeared, one had joyously seized a supply and,
rushing his ladder about the room, ran ’hat
magic along the tops of all doors and windows,
hung it from pictures and furniture and tree,
until the room was one silver gleam. He still
gfyt Jluittfcty Jlto
The Hoover tree is not trimmed by somebody else—it is trimmed by the family.
Drava by Stockton Mulford.
By Charlotte Kellogg.
( Author of “Merrier,, the Fighting Cardinal of Belgium**f.
pre-empts “frosting," while others zealously
guard their own chosen roles of artistic endea
vor. Gifts are simple, but no matter how busy
or complicated life may happen to be at the
moment, into the choosing and wrapping of
each, into every greeting, goes individual work
and pleasure.
This habit of giving of what one is, os well
as of what one has, is characteristic, funda
mental. Its expression rings down the toad of
President Hoover’s whole career, from the put
ting through of his first job to his message of
“work,” spoken the other day to the most im
portant business conference ever held in our
So the essential music of Christmastlde—the
caroling and piecespeaking and playacting*—
are not brought In from outside; they are ihe
spontaneous contribution of family members and
friends. And there are besides the two grown
sons, Herbert and Allen, and the daughter-in
law, Peggy Watson Hoover, the niece and
nephew, Janet and Delano Large, and the
grandchildren, Peggy Ann and Herbert, 3d, to
lead in this part of the gayety.
'J'HE festivities begin before breakfast. The
First Lady, having once long ago come
upon two little wide-eyed children who had
crept out of bed to watch tensely on a cold
stairway for the stocking hour, decided then
and there that if she ever had children there
would be a preliminary stocking filled with
smaller gifts and jokes, which
anybody could leap for the
minute he was awake and take
back to his warm bed. So la
the Hoover house everybody has
his advance stocking in his own
room. Then he proceeds to
breakfast—shutting his eyes to
the larger stockings and tree
nearby. Thus he is encouraged
to prepare for the exciting day,
by eating and more or less nor
mally digesting at least this
initial meal!
Here the neighbors gather.
For no celebration ever stops at
the Hoover fence; in fact, there
has never been a Hoover fence.
I remember once, when gayety
had spilled over into the rear
porch of the Washington S
street house, spying a small and
lonely boy who had clambered
up what is called a fence at
the bottom of the garden, and
was clinging there, watching.
I had no sooner sighted him
than I saw Mr. Hoover quickly
crossing the tree-covered area
to lift that small boy over the
fence and bring him into the
midst of what he had been
watching from afar.
As many neighbors as can get
there gather to find a real wel
come. One “belongs” in the
Hoover house at Christmas, or
at any other time. Fortunately,
daily increasing numbers of our
people are now experiencing
this welcome. According to some
statistically minded newspaper
reporters more people have slept
in the White House beds and
eaten from its table since these
Californians have moved into it
than ever before in an equal
period of time. And yet, with
all the coming and going, the
successive visiting, there persists
a quietness and simplicity and
an impression of sharing that
is difficult to describe. One
friend came near expressing 16
when he said. “Don't you feel ia
the Hoovers’ house that you
have to defend them against
your sense of possession?”
This, too, springs from some
thing fundamentally character
istic of both the President and
the First Lady. They have the
neighborhood conception of liv
ing. Always just next door to
one are potential friends.
Naturally and easily thesd
particular Americans hav#
broadened their neighborhood
to Atlantic-Pacific boundaries.
The President, as he prepared
for his immediate family festival
is thinking of his responsibili
ties to, and hopes for, his great
er family. For his conception of
government is that it is just a
prodigious housekeeping job. ltd
complicated administrative ma
chinery exists only to look after
the needs and secure the happU
ness of the national family.
QNE of the President’s objectives, one of hlrf
hopes for his family, cm this Christmas day
is to see developed in the national family Just
that sense of possession which friends have said
they feel in his own house—to have our sense
of i wsession in our glorious natural resources
made alive, keen, joyous. Therefore, he la
ushering in the new era of conservation, more'
outdoor parks, more playgrounds for city chil
dren; more Intelligent handling of the public 1
domain; conservation of oil and other riches,’
and protection of water sources.
The outdoor Christmas tree, the community
tree and celebration, that spirit which has, these’
Continued on Second Page. ' *

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