A gingerbread White House, stockings for the dogs and newest son-in-law Peter Neal and 77 Christmas trees: Jill Biden unveils holiday decorations and throws open doors for first public tours since pandemic
- Jill Biden revealed White House Christmas theme: ‘We the People’
- Theme chosen as White House reopens for holiday tours post-COVID
- More than 50,000 people expected to see the decorations
- Decorations include 77 Christmas trees, 83,615 holiday lights, and 25 wreaths
- Many decorations are do-it-yourself to allow visitors to make their own
With the executive mansion open for holiday tours again now that the COVID pandemic is slowing down, the first lady picked ‘We the People’ to star in the decor, which features do-it-yourself style adornments and mirrors to reflect the visitors who walk through the halls.
More than 50,000 people are expected to tour the White House this holiday season, according to the East Wing.
The decorations include 77 Christmas trees, including three dedicated to Gold Star Families. There are 83,615 holiday lights that decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths, and displays around the mansion with 25 classic wreaths adorning the north and south facades of the White House.
The main White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room features the state birds of each state and the bottom is a nest constructed out of real wood
First pets Commander and Willow bookend the fireplace in the East Room, which has stockings featuring the Biden grandchildren
The traditional White House Gingerbread house along with a gingerbread reconstruction of Independence Hall in a nod to the ‘We the People’ theme
The entrance hall allows visitors to ‘walk through the snow’ where Commander and Willow decorations await to greet them
Three of the 77 White House Christmas trees are dedicated to Gold Star families
The fireplace mantel in the China Room is decorated with hand-written recipe cards given by the volunteers who helped decorate the White House for the holidays
The main Christmas tree in the Blue Room is decorated with the birds of each state. The base of the tree is a nest made of real wood. East state placard gives the name of the state bird. Wooden bird houses also adorn the 19-foot white fir.
In the State Dining room, the stockings on the fireplace feature the names of the Bidens’ grandchildren. And, for the first time, there is a stocking for Peter Neal, whom Naomi Biden married last weekend.
There are also stockings for first dog Commander and first cat Willow. The pets pop up three times in various locations throughout the White House decor.
The trees in the State Dining Room are a nod to Jill Biden’s roots as a teacher. The ornaments on the trees are self-portraits created by the students of the 2021 Teachers of the Year from across the country.
The traditional Gingerbread White House includes 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30 sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate, and 40 pounds of royal icing.
Joining it is a gingerbread recreation of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed.
It’s one of the many nods to the ‘We the People’ theme throughout the state rooms. In the library, the preamble to the United States Constitution is written on paper banners decorating the windows.
‘The Soul of our Nation is – and always has been – “We the People.” And that is what inspired this year’s White House holiday decorations,’ Jill Biden will say later Monday when she thanks the more than 150 volunteers who spent the past week decorating the White House.
The first lady was inspired by the almost 40 states she has visited throughout her time in the White House.
Planning for the White House begins shortly after the Easter Egg Roll with a final decision on the theme made by July Fourth.
Jill Biden and President Joe Biden, who spent the Thanksgiving holiday on Nantucket, saw the decorations for the first time on Sunday night when they returned to the White House.
‘They were blown away by the beauty and how the house was transfixed while they were away on Thanksgiving,’ said White House social secretary Carlos Elizondo, who greeted the first couple upon the arrival.
He said the first lady was ‘100% completely happy with the end result. This is her vision and we had many folks – it took a village to execute.’
First dog Commander and first cat Willow appear in this year’s White House decorations
The East Room is dedicated to nature with snow covered trees and tributes to the nation’s national parks
Snowflakes light up the ceiling in the crosshall
Jill Biden incorporated do-it-yourself holiday decorations: In the Green Room, some of the bells are made of painted plastic cups, shower rings, twine and ribbons from craft stores
Trees in the China Room are decorated with garlands of wooden spoons, measuring cups, and rolling pins
A menorah that was built by White House carpenters from wood that was removed during a Truman-era renovation is on display in Cross Hall
The library features trees made out of books
The Red Room is decorated with candles as a symbol of faith
The entrance way to the White House showcases this year’s ‘We the People’ theme
Jill Biden also incorporated do-it-yourself ideas in the decorations so people could make similar ones at home.
‘It’s very important for the first lady that her decor is approachable and accessible and can inspire people at home during the holidays. And so you’ll see a lot of DIY elements throughout and we’re hoping that people can take their inspiration from the White House and recreate it at home,’ said East Wing communications director Elizabeth Alexander.
In the Green Room, bells hang on streamers in the windows overlooking the South Lawn. Some of the bells are made of painted plastic cups, shower rings, twine and ribbons from craft stores.
Guests entering the White House will ‘walk through the snow’ – a winter woodland of paper mache trees that are hand painted. The decorations contain mirrors to reflect the visitors as they walk through the entrance hall. And woodland creatures – including a rabbit, fox and owl – hide among the trees.
The animals were crafted by the volunteers over the past week.
The various state rooms contain decor that represents items that bring people together.
In the China room, it is food and cooking traditions.
The trees are decorated with garlands of wooden spoons, measuring cups, and rolling pins.
And decorating the mantel on the fireplace are recipe cards contributed by the volunteers from across the country who helped decorate the White House for the holidays.
The Library is dedicated to the stories that bring people together – including books made into Christmas tree shapes.
The Red Room is decorated with candles to represent faith and allow for quiet refection. It also features orchids, which are one of Jill Biden’s favorite flowers.
The Green Room has a music theme inspired by Christmas carols. The decor includes sleigh bells, hand bells, and jingle bells.
The East Room is dedicated to nature with snow-covered trees. The fireplace mantels feature four of the nation’s National Parks: The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park.