Why Do We Celebrate Presidents Day?

Happy Presidents Day!

Ever wonder why we celebrate Presidents Day? Learn all about Presidents Day, a United States national holiday, in this post. Then, keep scrolling to read fun facts about the earliest US presidents, which are sure to spark interesting discussions in your family!

Print these FREE Presidents Day activities!

Why Do We Celebrate Presidents Day?

For many years, George Washington’s birthday (February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12, 1809) were celebrated as separate holidays to honor our first and sixteenth presidents, who many consider to be the most famous of all the presidents.

However, with the passing of the Uniform Federal Holidays Act of 1971, the two holidays were combined into one Presidents Day. 

Did you know that not all states celebrate Presidents Day? A quick internet search can help you find out if which states officially recognize this federal holiday. 

Many states recognize Presidents Day in honor of Washington, Lincoln, and other presidents’ birthdays each February on the third Monday of the month.

Some states choose to celebrate this national holiday in the later months of the year, near the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Others choose to honor Thomas Jefferson, the country’s third president and founding father from Virginia. 

Fun Facts About the First US Presidents

  • The White House in Washington, DC was not always the president’s home. George Washington lived in New York and Philadelphia. John Adams, the second president, moved into the unfinished “white house” in 1800.

    Then in 1801 Jefferson opened the house to public visitors. The formal name White House came 100 years later. Theodore Roosevelt named it due to—you guessed it—its white color!

  • The cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol was laid in the building’s southeast corner on September 18, 1793, by then-President George Washington. The Civil War interrupted work on the building, as it turned into a hospital, barracks and even bakery!

  • Thomas Jefferson learned and spoke six languages during his lifetime and was a dedicated writer, penning more than 19,000 letters! These skills helped him negotiate the purchase of the 529,000,000-acre Louisiana Territory from France. Afterward he asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore this newly acquired land. 

  • John Adams’ son (John Quincy Adams) became the sixth president in 1824, after his father served as the second.
  • Three past US presidents died on July 4, the historic day which celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day: July 4, 1826 (the Declaration’s 50th anniversary). James Monroe died five years after in 1831. 
  • James Madison was only 5 feet, 4 inches tall, a whole foot shorter than Lincoln. He attended Princeton and earned a “graduate” degree, which wasn’t even a formal program until nearly 100 years later! 

  • President Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin childhood home in Kentucky inspired the popular Lincoln Logs® blocks.

  • Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president, was caught speeding in Washington, DC, with his horse and buggy. He was arrested and given a $20 speeding ticket for the offense, a high charge in those days!
Front Cover US Constitution Course Set

Study the Founding Fathers &
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Teaching our children the principles of liberty is a powerful gift and responsibility!

Presidents Day is a great occasion to learn more about the Declaration of Indepence, Founding Fathers, and US Constitution with our popular US Constitution and Government course.

There are many more fun facts to discover about the US presidents! These are just a few of the fascinating stories of our former leaders. Presidents Day is a time to remember the sacrifices and triumphs of those who came before us. We celebrate what each contributed to building the country we know and love.

In honor of this special day, don’t forget to get our exclusive (and FREE!) PDF download with a variety of Presidents Day printable activities. Simply click this link to download yours now!

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  • Amanda Del Bianco

    Yes, I love this suggestion!

  • LOVE THIS! So thankful for TGAB giving us bonus materials on special days! Another reason to adore TGAB!

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  • Johnna

    Thank you!

  • Trisha G

    So fun and great facts! However, I do have to point out one minor error that I noticed: Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home is in Kentucky, not Illinois. The Lincoln Log cabin you mention, although not the exact one he lived in, is in the Lincoln Memorial found at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, KY. I’m so excited to share the rest of your tidbits with my kiddos!

    • Customer Support

      Thank you for your feedback, Trisha! We appreciate the time you took to share and have updated the text to reflect the correct location for his childhood home, in Kentucky.