LOS ANGELES — So much for the holiday spirit. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is once again targeting the Obama administration, leveling a critical glare at the official White House holiday greeting card for not emphasizing Christmas.
The card was created for the Obama family by Los Angeles artist and designer Mark Matuszak. It features an image of Bo, the Obama family dog, in front of a fireplace in the White House library with a poinsettia and other decorations. The card, which makes no direct mention of Christmas and doesn’t feature a Christmas tree, states: “From our family to yours, may your holidays shine with the light of the season.”
Palin told Fox News that she found it “odd” that the card emphasizes the dog instead of traditions such as “family, faith and freedom.” She also said that Americans are able to appreciate “American foundational values illustrated and displayed on Christmas cards and on a Christmas tree.”
In the past, White House cards have varied in terms of a secular versus a Christian approach. The George W. Bush administration tended toward the religious. In 2008, the White House card made no direct reference to Christmas but featured a quote from the Gospel of Matthew. In 2005, the Bush family’s card featured a quote from the book of Psalms.
The Bill Clinton administration took a more secular tack. The family’s 1995 card used the word “holiday” but featured an image of a Christmas tree.
The Obama family has also preferred a more secular approach. Last year’s holiday card featured an image of a White House covered with snow, with the following greeting: “May your holiday be filled with all the simple gifts of the season, and may your new year be blessed with health and happiness.”
Matuszak said in a phone interview last week that he was contacted a few months ago by the White House social secretary, who asked him to create this year’s holiday card.
“They wanted to do an inside shot, something home related,” said Matuszak. One idea was to focus on Bo, the Obama family dog. “So we thought, let’s put Bo in front of a fireplace.”