Presidents create events that encourage people to feel they have access to the leader of a democratic society. Thomas Jefferson opened the lawn around the White House on the Fourth of July. In the 1840s, musical concerts gained popularity, attracting large crowds in subsequent years. First families have hosted public celebrations that include Easter egg rolls, Christmas tree lightings, receptions, and picnics.
These events symbolize the unique relationship between our chief elected official and the voters he serves. No president can afford to appear aloof or distant from the public, although the need for tight security makes direct contact a challenge.