White House Thanksgiving Traditions Through the Years (Slideshow)

Even presidents need to celebrate Turkey Day
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President Lincoln officially proclaims Thanksgiving a national holiday.


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President Lincoln officially proclaims Thanksgiving a national holiday.


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The tradition of pardoning White House turkeys is traced back to Lincoln’s son Tad, who interceded to save a turkey from being killed.


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President William McKinley’s wife, Ida, plans a Thanksgiving meal with the help of the White House chef to include a 26-pound turkey from Rhode Island stuffed with oysters, new potatoes from Idaho, cranberry and celery, and mince and pumpkin pies.


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President William Howard Taft served a mince pie sent to him by his aunt, Delia Torrey, of Millbury, Mass., at the Thanksgiving feast.


President Franklin Roosevelt’s White House dinner menu included clam cocktail, clear soup, roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and cranberry sauce, Spanish corn, small sausages and beans, sweet potato scones, grapefruit salad, pumpkin pie and cheese, coffee, and ice cream.


President John F. Kennedy pardoned a 55-pound turkey. The president’s family celebrated the holiday at Hyannis Port, Mass., a family tradition. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy was known for hiring French chef René Verdon to work and cook in the White House.


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President George H. W. Bush officially pardons a White House turkey, starting the yearly tradition.


President Bill Clinton and his family spent Thanksgiving at Camp David. The menu included turkey and dressing with bread stuffing; giblet gravy; mashed potatoes; sweet potatoes; green beans; cranberry mold; relish tray including pickles, celery, tomatoes, green onions, green and black olives and carrots; fruit salad; cranberry salad; and pecan and pumpkin pies.


President George W. Bush, along with his wife and daughters, enjoyed Thanksgiving at Camp David with a dinner that included turkey, jellied cranberry molds, whipped sweet potato soufflé, and pumpkin mousse trifle.


President Barack Obama pardoned a North Carolina turkey named "Courage."


The Obama family celebrated Thanksgiving dinner at the White House with a menu consisting of turkey, ham, cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and dinner rolls. For dessert, they indulged in six kinds of pies including banana cream, pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, huckleberry, and cherry.