Christmas Party for Children of Diplomats, 1969
This photograph was taken by National Geographic photographer Joseph J. Scherschel on December 23, 1969, during a Christmas party hosted by First Lady Pat Nixon for children of the Diplomatic Corps. The party was coordinated by THIS (The Hospitality and Information Service) for Diplomats, a volunteer organization established in 1961 to support newly appointed diplomats and their families transition to life in Washington, D.C. Approximately 400 children between the ages of four and eleven attended the party. The children were treated to a reception of cookies and punch, and a performance by students from the Washington School of Ballet of selections from Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Here, children mingle and enjoy balloons in the East Room. Visible in the background is a prominent display for an 18th-century crèche, or nativity scene, that was gifted to the White House in 1967.