Like other homes around the world, the White House is decorated for the holidays — just on a larger scale. Sixty-two trees, 70,000 ornaments and a 227-kilogram gingerbread house are just the beginning.
This year’s White House holiday theme is “A Timeless Tradition,” commemorating both long-held and recent holiday traditions.
First lady Michelle Obama has once again invited families of servicemen and women for a first look at the holiday decorations and given them the chance to scribble handwritten notes to their loved ones in the military. She has invited these families to be the first visitors to look at White House decorations each year since 2011. New this year are the iPads made available for kids to post greetings on social media to their parents serving abroad.
Nutcrackers of all sizes keep watch over a gingerbread house in the State Dining Room (a tradition since the early 1970s). This year’s creation is the first to include gingerbread East and West Wings.
In the real-life East Colonnade, decorative snowflakes hang from the ceiling with writing upon them. “You’re going to see hundreds of messages from students from local schools sharing their dreams for the future,” said the first lady, explaining the snowflakes to visitors.
Since 1929, first families have decorated a tree on the first floor of the White House. This year’s stands 5.5 meters tall in the Blue Room, overlooking the South Lawn and the Washington Monument.
The U.S. winter holiday season runs from late November through early January, and is when Americans take extra time to gather with family and friends — and express gratitude for life’s abundance.