Get an Inside Look at the White House at Christmas
Home makeovers are nothing new to HGTV viewers, but in the holiday special White House Christmas 2015, celebrity designer and HGTV host Genevieve Gorder takes viewers along on a VIP tour of one very extraordinary holiday home transformation — the home of America's first family.
In terms of the sheer scope and extent of the undertaking, and the efforts of a small army of volunteers and designers, this year is one of the grandest and most elaborate holiday transformations ever at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And in the HGTV special, viewers are treated not only to an up-close look at the beautifully styled rooms and decorations, but Genevieve also takes us behind the curtain, talking with the volunteers and White House staffers who make it all happen.
Facts and Stats
This year's holiday decorations at the White House include more than 70,000 ornaments and no less than 62 Christmas trees. More than 95 volunteers from across the country converge to help in what amounts to a decorating marathon, a carefully choreographed holiday makeover of the residence and grounds. When it's all done, more than 68,000 will have toured the White House during the holidays.
In terms of the HGTV special itself, the groundwork and prep begins in May, and the Scripps Productions team that shoots and assembles the show typically arrives to begin work at the White House the day after Thanksgiving. The shoot itinerary must remain flexible given the sensitive location and ongoing activities, but production and post-production work from that time on is almost constant until the special airs in December. Often the hour-long special is delivered in its final and edited form less than a day before it's actual broadcast.
Visual Highlights From Christmas 2015
The official White House Christmas tree, grown and harvested this year in Lansdale, Pa., is located in the oval-shaped Blue Room at the center of the State Floor. This year the tree is particularly striking at a height of 18.5 feet and with ornaments arranged to create a design of separate tiers of red, white and blue. The doors to the Blue Room, as well as a massive chandelier, have to be removed before the tree can be installed, and volunteers climb scaffolding in order to place the decorations.
This year the East Colonnade has one of the most visually distinct decorating themes found throughout the residence. Around 2,000 handmade paper snowflakes are suspended to create an ethereal and cloud-like effect. Many of the snowflake ornaments are created by students in the D.C. area and hand-inscribed with messages about their hopes and aspirations. Others are specially handcrafted and designed to represent individual U.S. states and territories.
The Green Room, which often serves as a setting for informal meetings with VIP guests, is typically one of the most visually striking rooms on the tour. With its rich green walls, the room is ready made for Christmas holiday themes, and this year's decor plays off of the room's palette with a peacock theme, utilizing decorations in the deep metallic blue, fuchsia and green found in the plumage of one of the world's most brilliantly colored birds.
The White House creche is the visual highlight of the East Room during the holiday season. The intricate nativity scene is made of terra cotta and carved wood. It was fashioned in Naples, Italy during the eighteenth century. Donated to the White House in the 1960s, this ornate and compelling piece has been featured in the East Room during the holidays for more than 45 years, spanning nine presidential administrations.
This year's White House Christmas special re-airs on HGTV on the morning of December 23 at 7am|6c.