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Obama sends out pop-up White House holiday card

PoliticsWhite HouseBarack ObamaDwight D. EisenhowerU.S. CongressGeorge W. BushHeads of State

The 2013 White House holiday card from President Obama and his family has arrived, featuring another appearance by perennial canine star Bo, along with new presidential puppy Sunny.

In a departure from the flat, colorful displays of past cards, this year's features a pop-up White House, with Bo and Sunny walking along the front of their home.

"As we gather around this season, may the warmth and joy of the holidays fill your home," the card reads, signed by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, along with paw marks for Sunny and Bo.

The holiday card, a tradition that stretches to the early 20th century, began with the country’s notably hushed president: “Silent Cal” Coolidge.

Despite his steely demeanor, Coolidge was the first president to issue a warm Christmas greeting to the nation, issuing a letter for major newspapers across the country to publish in 1927. True to his nature, Coolidge’s message was terse, but it opened the door for presidents to come.

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“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind,” Coolidge wrote. “To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think of these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”

For years afterward, presidential Christmas greetings were distributed among family, friends and White House staff, a trend that’s reflected by the more personal nature of earlier cards. Former first lady Lou Hoover accompanied cards with personal photos  and poetry.

The cards eventually  became one of the many yearly holiday events the White House takes part in, from the elaborate White House Christmas decorations to eventful holiday tours.

But it wasn’t until President Eisenhower sent his 1953 holiday card to members of Congress, heads of state, ambassadors and beyond that the White House holiday greeting reached a wider audience. By 1967, the White House holiday card was sent out to 2,600 recipients.

That number has since skyrocketed, with more than a million people receiving President George W. Bush’s annual cards.

Take a look through a wide array of White House cards above, stretching from Coolidge’s presidential seal-adorned letter, President Nixon’s minimalist White House silhouette to President Obama’s frequent use of first dog Bo as a holiday subject.

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PoliticsWhite HouseBarack ObamaDwight D. EisenhowerU.S. CongressGeorge W. BushHeads of State
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