Presidential Christmas Messages – Gerald Ford

Presidential Christmas Messages

Since 1870, the United States has officially celebrated Christmas as a nation and as a result has declared as a nation the belief in the coming of the Savior to earth. Just as the official Thanksgiving proclamations of the Presidents declare that our nation depends upon the grace and mercy of the LORD God to exist, the celebration of Christmas declares the nation’s faith in the manifestation of that grace and mercy in the birth of the Messiah.

Gerald Ford

 President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford pose in front of Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House, 12/17/1974. (Image from the Ford Presidential Library.)

President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford pose in front of Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House, 12/17/1974. (Image from the Ford Presidential Library.)

Christmas Message.
December 17, 1974

MRS. FORD and I send our warmest holiday greetings to all our fellow citizens. We hope that each of you will share the traditional joys of this Holy season with your family and friends. And we pray that the Christmas spirit of generosity and renewal will be with you throughout the coming year.

We begin 1975 in the midst of many serious challenges. As we work to resolve them, let us be encouraged by counting the blessings we have gained from those who have met similar challenges in the past. Let us draw strength from our unity of purpose and hope from our past resourcefulness. And let us work together to ensure that the good which we have achieved will be strengthened and preserved for our children and future generations.


Remarks at the Lighting of the National Community Christmas Tree.
December 17, 1974

Thank you very, very much, Secretary of Interior Rogers Morton, Mayor Washington, Mr. Hoffman, my fellow Michiganders from the University of Michigan Chorus, my fellow Americans:

Obviously, I am very delighted to participate in this celebration tonight, to light and to share with you the Nation’s Christmas tree.

As a former National Park Service ranger a good many years ago, I have been and am concerned with conservation. I am pleased to know, of course, that this tree has a heritage from Colorado but was transplanted here from the great State of Pennsylvania. But this tree will be the National Community Christmas Tree and will be so for many, many years to come.

As a President vitally concerned with the saving of energy, I also want you to know that the electricity consumed, as the Secretary of Interior has said, is a considerable reduction of what has been used in years past. And that is the way it should be, and that is the way that it must be.

The glow of Christmas, however, should come from a power source which we will never run short of, our abiding faith and our love of God.

The true spirit of this season can best be seen in our faces. The children here tonight, like millions of children around the world, reflect the wonder and the excitement of anticipation. Those of us who are older look forward to the warmth of reunions with families and with friends.

Traditions, treasured memories, shared hopes–these are the ties that bind families together and nations together. The tree before us is a part of our national tradition, and as such, it has seen both triumphs and tragedies.

Christmas and the New Year have always been a time to reflect on the past and then look ahead to the future. I firmly believe that 1975 will be a brighter year for all America, but it must also be a brighter year for the world around us, the entire globe, if we as a nation are to prosper.

And so, I would like to share with you my personal list of Christmas wishes. At the top of my list are peace, economic well-being for all, and a caring climate that will permit everyone to achieve the fullest potential of their human gifts. And I wish this Nation a strong future out of a very proud past. And I wish every one of us the realization of love and belonging.
Billions of words over the years have been written, have been sung, have been spoken about the true meaning of Christmas. None have ever said it more eloquently than “on earth peace, good will toward men.” And that is my final Christmas wish for all of us.
Thank you very kindly.

Pageant of Peace Ceremony 12/18/1975
Pageant of Peace Ceremony 12/18/1975

Remarks at a Christmas Party for the White House Staff.
December 15, 1975

Mr. Vice President, members of the White House family:

Christmas has a very special meaning for all of us regardless of our religious beliefs, because it is a holiday built around the concept of the family. What began with Joseph and Mary and the infant Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem–the sentiments of togetherness and love–has spread over the centuries to millions and millions of homes. And as a result, regardless of where it is around the world, I think it has become an almost universal blessing.

Betty and I, along with Susan and the rest of the family, are very delighted to have all of you in this wonderful home and to participate in the first showing of the wonderful decorations that have been put together and made available for as many as can come and see what we have here in the White House. Betty says for an old-fashioned Christmas. [Laughter]

But let me say, in addition to seeing the wonderful decorations and, I hope, getting the warmth of the feeling that exists here, we do want to express to all of you our deepest appreciation and broadest gratitude for all that you have done over the last 16 or 17 months to try and make our Government work from the White House as effectively as possible.

We can’t express deeply enough or vigorously enough our gratitude and indebtedness to you. Naturally, we know the long hours you have put in have interfered with your own family and, I suspect, some of your Christmas shopping. But if you will excuse the hours even on these days at this time of the year, we want to say strongly, forcefully, and with the deepest gratitude, our best wishes for a very, very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.
Thank you very, very much.

Remarks at the Lighting of the National Community Christmas Tree.
December 18, 1975

Thank you very much, Mr. John Dixon. Mayor Washington, Mr. Ambassador, Secretary Kleppe, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

As we gather here before our Nation’s Christmas tree, symbolic of the communion of Americans at Christmastime, we remind ourselves of the eternal truths by which we live. We celebrate the virtues of the human spirit–faith in God and love of one another, and the guiding principles of America–liberty and justice for all.

In our 200 years, we Americans have always honored the spiritual testament of 2,000 years ago. We embrace the spirit of the Prince of Peace so that we might find peace in our own hearts and in our own land, and hopefully in the world as well.

Christmas is a celebration of love–it is a time of joy, of giving, of caring. We renew, we demonstrate our conviction that it is more blessed to give than to receive, to believe than to doubt, to hope than to despair, to love rather than stand apart.

We are a national family called America. We come from varied backgrounds. We live in areas far apart from each other. We have different dreams. But we are united this Christmas by our common commitment to one another.

We have much to be grateful for as we enter this Christmas season. We are at peace, and through our efforts significant progress has been made toward a more durable peace throughout the world.

Yes, we have endured economic. difficulties, but our Nation and we in the American family can now look forward to a more prosperous new year. And on this eve of our Bicentennial year, liberty and justice still burn brightly as the guiding stars of our Nation.

We pray this Christmas not only for ourselves and our country but for all our brothers and sisters on Earth. We ask for the strength and resolution to help lift the burdens of poverty, ignorance, hunger, and disease from the minds and bodies of men and women and children everywhere.

As we enter America’s third century, let us make sure we carry with us our abiding faith in the ultimate triumph of peace on Earth and the living example of good will to all men and women. Let us join the great principles of our past–spiritual and temporal–with the great promise of our future. With the help of God, America’s third century will be our proud legacy to so many generations yet to come.

Tonight, as we light the national Christmas tree, Betty joins me in wishing all of you a very merry Christmas and a new year of peace and happiness.
Thank you.

Christmas Message.
December 24, 1975
MERRY CHRISTMAS! These two words conjure up all of the good feelings that mankind has ever held for itself and its creator: reverence, tenderness, humility, generosity, tolerance–love. These are the stars we try to follow. These are the most enduring treasures we can bring to our world. I can remember a few Christmases in my own youth when just about the only thing we had to offer each other as a family was the love we shared, and the faith that together we could see things through to a better future. And it did. It made us work harder, study harder, try harder–and it brought out qualities and depths of strength and character that none of us in those days thought we had.

The spirit of Christmas is ageless, irresistible and knows no barriers. It reaches out to add a glow to the humblest of homes and the stateliest of mansions. It catches up saint and sinner alike in its warm embrace. It is the season to be jolly–but to be silent and prayerful as well.

I know this will be a particularly happy Christmas for me. I celebrate it surrounded by those I love and who love me. I celebrate it by joining with all of our citizens in observing a Christmas when Americans can honor the Prince of Peace in a nation at peace.

The Ford family wishes you and your family a Christmas that brings all of the joy, the fulfillment, and the inspiration of this most precious of seasons. May God’s blessings be with you all.


President Gerald Ford at the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree 12/16/1976
President Gerald Ford at the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree 12/16/1976

Remarks at the Lighting of the National Community Christmas Tree.
December 16, 1976

Thank you very, very much. Thank you, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Ambassador, Secretary Kleppe, Mayor Washington, Director Everhardt, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

As our Bicentennial Year comes to a close, it is especially appropriate to gather once more around the traditional symbol of family ties and friendly reunions, our Nation’s Christmas tree. In doing so, we combine our year-long celebration of historical events with a personal rededication to timeless values.

The message of Christmas has not changed over the course of 20 centuries. Peace on Earth, good will towards men–that message is as inspiring today as it was when it was first proclaimed to the shepherds near Bethlehem. It was first proclaimed, as we all know, then.

In 1976 America has been blessed with peace and a significant restoration of domestic harmony. But true peace is more than an absence of battle. It is also the absence of prejudice and the triumph of understanding. Brotherhood among all peoples must be the solid cornerstone of lasting peace. It has been a sustaining force for our Nation, and it remains a guiding light for our future.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus is observed on every continent. The customs and traditions are not always the same, but feelings that are generated between friends and family members are equally strong and equally warm.

In a few moments I will turn the switch that lights up our national Christmas tree. As beautiful as that tree is, it will be only a symbol if its light is not matched by the glow of love in our hearts. It is my personal prayer on this Christmas of 1976 that the tree which I light tonight is only the beginning, that each of you will also light a flame of love–love that is reflected in the eyes of all our brothers and sisters across the Nation and around the world.

Now, Betty joins me in wishing you all a very, very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you, and God bless you.



Presidential Christmas Messages

Presidential Christmas Messages 4




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