- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2022

First lady Jill Biden revealed the White House holiday decor on Monday featuring 77 Christmas trees, mirrored ornaments and reflective surfaces to underscore the theme: “We the People.”

Mrs. Biden will hold an official event with volunteers who decorated the presidential home — an annual tradition — and National Guard leaders and families as part of her “Joining Forces” initiative for military families.

“We may celebrate different holidays, we may sing different songs or say different prayers but our shared American values endure season after season,” Mrs. Biden said at a packed White House reception to unveil the decorations. “May the promise of ‘We the People’ light our path forward into the new year and bring us together always. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.”



Mrs. Biden and her team began planning the decor and theme at mid-year. More than 150 volunteers worked on the project, which is expected to draw 50,000 visitors during the holiday season.

Mrs. Biden joked about “glue-gun residue” on volunteers’ fingers and sore backs from hanging up fake snow in the colonnade.

Videos and other materials will be available at WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays.

The official White House Christmas Tree is an 18½-foot white fir from Auburn, Pennsylvania, that features handmade renderings of the official birds from all 57 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

One big addition this year is a menorah created by the Executive Residence Carpentry Shop. It was made with wood removed from the White House in the 1950s during a Truman-era renovation. The menorah will be located in Cross Hall.

The White House said more than 83,615 lights decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths and displays in the White House. Twenty-five wreaths adorn the north and south facades of the White House.

The Cross Hall and Grand Foyer feature metal ribbons with the names of the 57 states and territories and mark the year each entered the Union.

The Gingerbread White House, a yearly favorite, sits in the State Dining Room and includes 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30 sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of sugar-paste icing, 30 pounds of chocolate and 40 pounds of royal icing. It also features a sugar cookie replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia to hammer home the theme and its role in the nation’s founding.

Holiday greenery and red cardinals line the columns and beams of the East Wing Lobby. The first lady’s office said some people believe cardinals signify the presence of lost loved ones.

The initial Christmas trees on the White House tour are inscribed Gold Star trees with the names of fallen service members. Handmade woodland animals and lanterns line the walk down the East Colonnade, “evoking the feelings of peace and tranquility after the first snowfall.”

The Library will showcase a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed circa 1845 and donated to the White House in 1985.

The Vermeil Room features illustrations of the first family’s pets — Commander and Willow — and boxes from Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit organization that delivers care packages to deployed troops, to symbolize the “joy and meaning that come from giving back to those who serve others.”

The China Room features tableware used by past first families and evokes family traditions with garlands of wooden spoons, measuring cups, rolling pins, and “cookies that are reminiscent of baking treats in your grandma’s kitchen.”

The East Room pays homage to America’s natural wonders, from the Grand Canyon to the Great Smoky Mountains; the Green Room features sleigh bells, handbells, and jingle bells as part of a music theme; while the Red Room features candles and glowing stained glass windows to “reflect the comfort, peace, and strength we find in faith.”

The State Dining Room includes ornaments designed as self-portraits by the students of the 2021 Teachers of the Year from across the country, “ensuring that children see themselves in this year’s holiday display,” the White House said.

The Biden family stockings will hang from the mantel, each with an orange in the toe — a common Christmas tradition passed down to the Bidens by the first lady’s grandmother.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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