As you start (or finish!) your Christmas shopping, remember there are presidential birthdays approaching. Our holiday shopping guide will help you choose the best gifts for your favorite former presidents!
Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, NY. He was the eighth Vice President and then the eighth President of the United States. You might be surprised to learn that he was the first president who was born as an American citizen—his predecessors were born under British rule. Ironically, he was also the first president whose native language was not English; it was Dutch. Unfortunately, his election year was marred by the Panic of 1837, which led to a 5-year depression that he was held responsible for, earning him the nickname “Martin Van Ruin.” When shopping for Martin, consider a Dutch-to-English phrase book or a paid course in economics!
Jumping ahead to 1808, North Carolina saw the birth of Andrew Johnson on December 29th. He became President following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and was the first to attain office in that fashion. During his tenure, he broke away from the Republican Party and reversed many of his campaign stances. He opposed Civil Rights bills and, as one of his last executive acts, pardoned all Confederates on Christmas Day, 1868. Twice, Congress voted to impeach him, the second time failing by just one vote. A good gift for Andrew might be breakfast in bed…a waffle heaped with peaches!
Our final entry this month is Woodrow Wilson, born December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia. Prior to election, he was the president of Princeton University and then the Governor of New Jersey. The only president with a PhD, he introduced a number of progressive reforms and helped to push them through the legislature. He kept the nation out of WWI for as long as he could, but German aggression left him no choice but to ask Congress to declare war. Later, he would be central in the post-war peace talks, which landed him a Nobel Peace Prize. Five years after his death, his face was used for $100,000 bills (only used by Federal Reserve banks, no longer produced). One of those might just be the perfect gift for Woodrow!
Happy shopping! And if you’re wondering what’s at the top of our Christmas list, it’s a visit from you!