White House Holidays

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was born in 1857 and died in 1930. He was the 27th President, and after his presidency, served as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Taft’s preference had always been to be Chief Justice, not President. However, Roosevelt, Taft’s wife, and Taft’s friends all wanted him to be the next President after Roosevelt. With no opening on the Court, and with Roosevelt’s influence, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Taft’s future involved the office of President of the United States.

Taft and Christmas

William Taft loved Christmas. To look at him was to feel like you were seeing Santa in regular clothes. Taft loved to give gifts at Christmastime. He would send hundreds of gifts out to family, friends, staff, and other acquaintances. He’d spend day after day shopping looking for books and other gifts that would make suitable gifts for everyone on his list. And if you were visiting that many stores and buying that many gifts, you needed a means of transportation, both for yourself and all the presents.


Taft was forward-thinking when it came to technology. In his day, technology wasn’t cell phones or computers, but automobiles. Prior to Taft’s presidency, horse and buggy was the standard mode of transportation of Presidents. Taft changed this, by purchasing a fleet of “horseless carriages” for the White House. The White Steamer, as shown on the wonderful 2012 Official White House Ornament, was a steam driven car manufactured by White Sewing Machine Company in Cleveland. Taft was staying loyal to his roots, as his home state was Ohio. Taft loved being chauffeured around in the White Steamer. In his day, this car was a modern marvel, and fast to boot. That was good, because it was generally known that Taft loved speed! The car was big, able to hold seven people.

The Ornament

The White Steamer was perfect for holding all of those presents Taft would buy at Christmas. You can see him in the ornament holding some of those gifts. On the other side of the ornament you’ll see his wife enjoying the Christmas season as well. As you look at the ornament, note the exquisite gold plating that accentuates the fine details. See the presidential seal on the door, the Christmas 2012 banner hanging at the front, the whitewall wheels, and even the smile on Taft’s face as he enjoys a drive after a fruitful day of shopping. Taft, gift-giver and car lover, is captured perfectly by way of this beautiful ornament, made right here in the USA. We hope you enjoy this ornament on your tree, or that you make it a gift for your family and friends, just as Taft enjoyed giving to his.

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© 2018 White House Holidays (A Presidential Christmas) is a woman-owned business based in Tampa, Florida proudly Celebrating our American Heritage since 1996. Our business is pleased to offer nearly 1,000 products from our own custom line as well as from over 200 vendors, including completely separate historical institutions such as Mount Vernon, the White House Historical Association, and many other great American organizations.