How do I send the President of the United States a wooden gift?
I always thought it would be really cool to make the President of the United States a nice wooden gift. How do I make sure he gets it?
—John Morris, San Jacinto, Calif.
John, in a tradition that is as old as the country, The President of the United States receives about 1,000 gifts per month sent by people ranging from ordinary citizens to visiting sports teams to foreign heads-of-state. These are considered gifts to the Office of the President unless specifically designated in writing as gifts to the first family.
When a President's term ends, the bulk of the gifts get transferred to his Presidential Library to be cataloged and stored or put on display.
The President is free to take items addressed to the first family. However, he pays taxes on any gifts taken, and those valued at $100 or more must be reported to the Office of Government Ethics. No wonder outgoing Presidents are selective in what gifts they take with them.
Rather than send a gift, some administrations suggest you consider looking for opportunities to assist neighbors in need. However, if you insist, address it to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. Be sure to include your contact information, a description of the gift, an estimated value, and a note designating it either to the Office of the President or to the first family.