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The Most Diplomatic Gifts, According to The Obama's Social Secretary

Five sure-to-please, and will definitely not offend, gifts (that would be good for co-workers or people you don’t know that well), as well as some lovely holiday cards.

Buttercream Frosted Holiday Flavors Cookie Basket

Buttercream Frosted Holiday Flavors Cookie Basket
“Every December, the current social secretary would host lunch for the former White House social secretaries in the West Wing, in the Ward Room, which is located a floor below the Oval and across from the Situation Room. For dessert, we moved to the State Floor, so they could enjoy the holiday décor. At the conclusion, the florist arranged flowers and the pastry chef prepared a selection of cookies, wrapped in clear plastic with a bow. They were handed out as the socials departed. Holiday cookies can make for a perfect gift for guests (or as a hostess gift)".

GoPro Fetch

GoPro Fetch
“When a clever staffer hung a GoPro camera on the Bushes’ Scottish terrier, Barney, a star was born. The footage of the little terrier padding through the White House holiday decorations went viral, drawing more traffic to the White House site than ever before. The way to a dog lover’s heart is through a GoPro camera — endlessly entertaining, and a good way to see what your buddy is up to when you’re not home.”

Gingerbread House Kit

“The White House pastry chef and staff spend weeks constructing an elaborate gingerbread version of the White House. The First Families’ pets would often be included, in front or looking through one of the windows. It was displayed in the State Dining Room, and always a favorite for photos or just to see up close.”

Mosaic Photo Book

“President Obama and Mrs. Obama both gave photo books to staff at the holidays. The president’s had a red leather cover with the presidential seal in gold. Mrs. Obama’s book had a photo cover, and both contained photos taken at staff meetings and various trips and events. (They were always mindful to make sure each staff member was included in at least one photo. The White House photographer, Pete Souza, was diligent about this.)”

Holiday Cards

SSYC Holiday Cards
“The First Ladies carefully selected the White House holiday cards each year. They were always very aware what an impression it would make. At the same time, they were careful for it not to be too similar to the previous years. One year was a photo, the next year an artist’s rendering of one of the rooms, and in 2015, we had the first White House Pop-Up holiday card. And 2016 was the first interactive card with a bar code. From a smartphone, a video would pop up with a message from the Obamas. We like these student-designed holiday cards — students from across the country submitted artwork to the White House, and we used some of them as invitations to holiday receptions. These cards support the Second Street Youth Center Foundation in Plainfield, New Jersey. Colorful, original, and charming.”

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