Decorating the White House for the Holidays

Get a behind-the-scenes look as the White House gets decked out for Christmas.

  • Bouquets in the State Dining Room rest on tables that are ready to be set for almost 30 holiday parties at the White House this season.

  • A volunteer mixes winterberry twigs with gold-sprayed pinecones and gold leaves on one of two trees in the Cross Hall.

  • Concept boards were used in every room of the White House to help volunteers understand the look and feel each room was supposed to have. This one, in the State Dining Room, shows pinecones, dried hydrangea, beads and glass ornaments.

  • Michelle Obama asked that 800 ornaments be sent to community groups across the country, to be decorated in a way that pays tribute to a favorite local landmark or person. This ornament pays tribute to Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to become a physician.

  • The gold and silver orbs that were sent to community groups for decorating were previously used as decorations in past White House Christmases.

  • Boxwood garlands frame the windows in the East Colonnade. Wreaths are made with lacquered magnolia leaves. Both plants can be found in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden right outside the windows.

  • Small vases in the State Dining Room are covered with magnolia leaves.

  • A volunteer adjusts the dried hydrangea tree topper in the State Dining Room. Several former White House bouquets were dried and reused as holiday decorations.

  • Designed to complement the colors in the William Cogswell portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the Fraser firs are decorated in part with dried roots from the kitchen garden.

  • Magnolia leaves give this vase in the East Room texture and interest.

  • Sprigs of winterberry dress up the niches in the East Entrance.

  • Covered in white chocolate, the gingerbread White House measures 56 inches wide, 29 inches deep and weighs almost 400 pounds. The \"house\" also features a miniature kitchen garden and Bo, the first family's dog. The confection remains on display in the State Dining Room for the holiday season.

  • The gingerbread house features a miniature State Dining Room with a working chandelier and furniture made of dark chocolate.

  • Ribbon, dried pomegranates and pepper-berries adorn the mantel in the Green Room. Later, the silver balls were removed for a more subtle effect.

  • Two 15-foot trees in the Cross Hall are decorated with pinecones, gold leaves, glass balls and ribbon.

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