DECEMBER 23, 1944
WASHINGTON, Friday—Miss Thompson and I arrived in Washington in what seemed the depths of the night, but it was really a little after 7 a.m. yesterday. From then on it was a busy day.
At 11 o'clock the President and I received the staff of the executive offices to wish them all a merry Christmas, and at 12:30 Girl Scout Troop #167 came in and presented me with two big boxes of Christmas tree decorations. They had read in my column that I found it difficult to buy the usual silver and tinsel ornaments and decorations. Usually the tree in the East Room at the White House has only silver and white on it, and we have used a great deal of the tinfoil "snow."
I was feeling rather discouraged about the way the tree would look this year, and when the doors were opened the decorations brought by the Girl Scouts had all been put on and looked lovely. They used peanuts, straw sippers, cotton, paper doilies and red ribbon to make the ornaments, and the effect was very charming and as Christmas-y as anything I have ever seen.
Our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Larue Brown, came to luncheon. We had quite a large family in the house, so we sat down twelve at table at both lunch and dinner yesterday.
At 2 o'clock I was at the Salvation Army annual Christmas party. The navy band always provides the music for this party, and yesterday there was a special little ceremony when they presented the leader of the band with a new baton. He at once used it, leading the band in "Stars and Stripes Forever." I presented the first check and box of toys to a very nice woman with four sweet little children. The eldest little boy, eight years old, was full of initiative and had the nicest smile.
At 4 o'clock the President and I received all the house employees and their families in the East Room. The numbers have grown considerably because of the increase in the number of guards during the war, and, too, the families are larger, having been here a number of years. In all, 440 people came in to shake hands with the President and me yesterday afternoon. It is a great pleasure to see them all. I think new babies come in for the greatest amount of attention, but the way some of the children have grown is breathtaking.
At 6 o'clock I went to the alley carol service in Cecil Court on Cherry Hill. This is rather a sad alley, but the site where the little tree is placed overlooks the Potomac and is very lovely. The service was conducted by the minister of the Emory Methodist Church, and the ceremonies inaugurated by the Washington Council of Church Women. I think it was enjoyed by all the neighbors.