White House Christmas 2012: Decorating America's First Home for the Holidays

Step inside the White House at Christmastime, and get an exclusive look at what goes into making America's first home sparkle for the holidays.

Joy to All

The theme for this year's White House Christmas is \"Joy to All.\" Selected by first lady Michelle Obama, the theme is a celebration of the traditional holiday festivities that bring each of us joy and happiness, the joy of giving to others, the joy of sharing our blessings and the joy of welcoming guests into our homes. Each room in the White House will highlight this theme through various handmade decorations and classic holiday pieces.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

The official White House tree — and centerpiece of the Blue Room — arrives by a festive horse-drawn carriage.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha greet the driver before seeing this year's Blue Room tree.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

Malia and Sasha Obama admire the Blue Room tree before it is taken into the White House.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

First lady Michelle Obama gives her seal of approval to the home's official tree.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

First dog Bo greets visitors at the Blue Room tree arrival. Year after year, Bo has become the star of the home's holiday display with faux Bos, \"Bo-flake\" ornaments and even a life-sized Bo made of pom-poms.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

It takes the strength of several workers to get the Blue Room Christmas tree off the carriage, into the White House and standing in the center of the room.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

The centerpiece of the Blue Room is a breathtaking 18-foot-tall Fraser fir from Estes Family's Peak Farms in Jefferson, N.C.

Blue Room Tree Arrival

This extravagant Christmas tree is a perfect fit for the Blue Room with its top just reaching the ceiling.

The Decorating Begins

Fifty-four live Christmas trees are set up along the White House visitor tour route, and more than 90,000 visitors are expected to step into the home during this year's holiday season.

The Decorating Begins

This tree, in the East Entrance Landing, will pay tribute to those in the Armed Forces and their families. The room will be filled with red, white and blue, and the tree will be trimmed with gold star ornaments. While visiting, guests can write notes of thanks and send the joy of the holidays to those serving in the military.

The Decorating Begins

This year's gingerbread house, a stunning replica of the White House, comes to life behind the scenes.

The Decorating Begins

A volunteer works on brightly colored cranberry wreaths that will soon adorn interior White House windows.

The Decorating Begins

First dog Bo even gets his own life-sized topiary! Using a single strand of yarn, 18,000 black pom-poms and 2,000 white pom-poms, each strand is applied in an overlapping technique to resemble Bo's fur. This project took one volunteer more than 80 hours to complete.

The Decorating Begins

The East Entrance column covers took a team of approximately 40 volunteers more than two months to make. Each cover was constructed over a plywood base using a total of 60,000 berries, 15,000 gold pinecone scales and 15,000 pieces of lemon leaf.

The Decorating Begins

These intricate column covers feature elegant berry, pinecone and leaf designs intended to form a 3-D geometric motif of \"illusion cubes.\"

The Blue Room Tree

The Blue Room entrance features lush garland accented with metallic gold leaves.

The Blue Room Tree

The official White House Christmas tree is dedicated to troops, veterans and military families who serve the United States each day. The tree is trimmed with ornaments decorated by children living on U.S. military bases all over the world. The tree and ornaments are meant to honor their parents' commitment to service.

A White House Christmas

The Diplomatic Reception Room fireplace is flanked with trees accented in a red, white, blue and gold color scheme. The mantel features elegant garland and hanging ornaments to continue the theme.

A White House Christmas

This 300-pound gingerbread house has been a holiday tradition at the White House since the 1960s. More than 175 pounds of gingerbread (and modified gingerbread) make up the display, as well as 50 pounds of chocolate.

A White House Christmas

The White House gingerbread house even features a detailed (and edible!) replica of the first lady's garden.

A White House Christmas

The East Room decorations celebrate the joy of American folk art. Artistic traditions are represented throughout the room's holiday decor, from handcrafted wooden ornaments to needlework to antique paintings.

A White House Christmas

The East Garden Room is known as a children's wonderland. The first dog Bo topiary, a life-sized replica made of 20,000 pom-poms, is the centerpiece of the room. Miniature Christmas trees and handmade \"Bo-flake\" ornaments create a whimsical effect.

A White House Christmas

Small, detailed decorations, like this handmade snow globe featuring first dog Bo, are just a few of the surprises visitors can find throughout the White House Christmas tour.

Holiday Preview With the First Lady

First lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a holiday craft project in the State Dining Room.

Holiday Preview With the First Lady

First lady Michelle Obama helps children make fun and easy pomegranate tree ornaments.

Holiday Preview With the First Lady

Children make pomegranate tree ornaments using a dried pomegranate, glitter glue, ribbon and a festive embellishment for the top. After they finish, they can hang their ornament on one of the State Dining Room trees.

Holiday Preview With the First Lady

Here comes Bo! First dog Bo is no stranger to stardom. (There are Bo replicas all over the White House throughout the season.) The cameras start flashing as soon as he enters the room at the first lady's holiday home preview.

Holiday Preview With the First Lady

Not unexpected, first dog Bo is showered with attention by the children.

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