Bush Center Rings in Holidays With Literary Favorites at Christmas Exhibit

Former first lady Laura Bush may now call Dallas home, but she is remembering Christmases at the White House by sharing some of the archives at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

The library's new holiday exhibit, "A Season of Stories," is decorated exactly as it was when the Bushes were in residence there in 2003.

The Bushes preserved each ornament and decoration that year and have it on display this season at the Bush Center.

The 18-foot replica of the Christmas trees the Bushes had in the Blue Room is adorned with the family's favorite storybooks.

Bush said the family bonded by reading classics to their twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.

"The books that I read to the girls were, 'Frog & Toad' and 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' and, of course, 'Curious George,'" she said.

Those classics inspired the White House holiday theme in 2003. That year, White House Residence staff created more than 40 storybook characters to display. The tree itself was decorated with ornaments first used by first lady Barbara Bush at the White House in 1989.

"I think it's really traditional to use ornaments that your family had used at other times, so it was fun to have Barbara and Jenna's grandparents' ornaments on the tree," Bush said.

Looking over the decor from 12 years ago seemed to bring back great memories of her time in Washington.

"I do miss those years," she said. "You know, it was so much fun to be there – really special and so special to be able to show people the White House. But, of course, we're happy to be home."

Texas is where the Bushes will spend this Christmas, at their ranch in Crawford.

Bush said her daughters, Barbara and Jenna, her son-in-law, Henry, and two granddaughters, Mila and Poppy Louise, will join them for the holiday. Poppy Louise was born just three months ago.

"Well the grandbaby, Poppy Louise, is just precious. She is just so cute. We can't wait to get our hands on her. Jenna and Henry have to look out for being trampled by George and me," Bush said, with a laugh.

And she now carries on the tradition of reading to her granddaughters.

"Reading with your family and bringing your family together to read stories is sort of the same thing that the holidays do, which is bring families together," she said.

"A Season of Stories" runs from Nov. 19 through Jan. 3 at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  Tickets are required.

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