JOHN and Abigail Adams moved into the drafty, unfinished White House just before Christmas, 1800, and threw the first party there on New Year's Day. Ever since, the holidays have been a lively season at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Few presidential couples, however, have gone at the Christmastime merrymaking with quite the gusto of Richard and Pat Nixon. For the holidays they have peopled the place with choirs, Bob Hope, the Apollo 12 astronauts and more than 6,000 other Americans, renowned and unknown. To fuel those guests, the kitchens turned out 25,000 cookies, 1,130...

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