You and the U.S. Kids Christmas Newsletter 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama with the 2014 White House Christmas tree
First Lady Michelle Obama with the 2014 White House Christmas tree

December 2014

Welcome to the winter edition of You and the U.S. We mark the centenary of the start of World War I, and also delve into A White House Christmas.

And … we have included a bumper pack of puzzles to help keep you entertained over the holiday season!

Did you know…?

…that you can track Santa on his Christmas Eve journey? The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) follows Santa’s journey across the world! Check it out here.


Quick Trivia

  1. Who was the President of the United States during World War I?
  2. Which state holds the record for the lowest temperature in winter?
  3. What is the alternative name for the Jewish Festival of Lights?

World War I Centenary

It has been 100 years since the beginning of World War I. The war started in Europe on July 28 1914 and ended on November 11 1918.

The U.S. entered the battle in 1917. President Woodrow Wilson requested a declaration of war against Germany on April 2 1917 as a result of the targeting and sinking of several American ships, killing American passengers and members of the Navy and the “Zimmerman telegram” (see below).

The U.S. Senate voted in support of President Wilson’s request on April 4, with the House of Representatives in agreement two days later. The U.S. later declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7 1917.

World War I Trenches in France (U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian)
World War I Trenches in France (U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian)

The “Zimmerman Telegram” was discovered by British intelligence on January 19, 1917. It was a telegram that was sent by German       Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German Ambassador in Mexico. The telegram promised the Mexican Government that it would help them get back the land they had lost to the U.S. during the Mexican-American War. In return, the Germans wanted support from Mexico in WWI. The British passed the telegram onto the Americans to help gain support from American officials to join the war.

In his War Message to Congress, President Wilson declared the American objective “is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world.”


A White House Christmas

The White House celebrates Christmas with a theme each year. Last year’s theme was ‘Gather Around’, celebrating the traditions and stories that bring people together at this time of year. In 2014, the theme is ‘A Children’s Winter Wonderland’. It celebrates the pureness of the holidays, as seen through a child’s eyes.

The White House Christmas tree arrives!
The White House Christmas tree arrives!

This year’s decorations commemorate the Armed Forces and their families, with a Christmas tree in the West Wing adorned with gold stars, honoring the fallen. The official Christmas tree is in the blue room and carries the theme of ‘America the Brave’. It comes from Crystal Springs Tree Farm in Leighton, Pennsylvania. It has ornaments decorated by military children living on U.S. military bases across the world.

There are 26 Christmas trees in total around the White House and a 300 pound Gingerbread House that even has a skating rink and reindeer!


For the full edition of You and the U.S. and the bumper pack of quizzes, please visit our website