White House Thanksgiving Traditions Through the Years (Slideshow)

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Even presidents need to celebrate Turkey Day

1863

Wikimedia Commons/ centpacrr

President Lincoln officially proclaims Thanksgiving a national holiday.

1865

Wikimedia Commons/ Magnus Manske

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

1897

Wikimedia Commons/ Lilatex, Thegreenj

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.

1912

Wikimedia Commons/ BrokenSphere, DigitalVision

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

1942

FDR Library

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.

1961

The White House Historical Association

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.

1989

Wikimedia Commons/ Stephen Walling

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

1996

aboutcampdavid.blogspot.com

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.

2007

Paul Morse

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.

2009

Chuck Kennedy

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

2012

Pete Souza

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.