Take an Exclusive Sneak Peek Into This Year's 'White House Christmas' Special

Can't wait to explore the holiday wonderland that is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this Sunday? Don't fret: You can unwrap a bit of this treat early.

The White House's 2016 seasonal theme is "The Gift of the Holidays," which cuts deeper than the joy of giving and receiving. In turn, this year's decor celebrates "the true gifts of life," like education, service, good health and friends and family. More than 90 volunteers went to Washington D.C. to lend a hand in embellishing America's first home, and they did it in a thoroughly modern way: 90 percent of the design was created with ornaments and decorations that were already part of the White House’s holiday inventory, rather than new materials. How's that for motivation to dig into the far corners of the closet for the twinkle lights you know you saved last year? 

Ahead of the annual tradition of HGTV's White House Christmas, airing Dec. 11 at 6 p.m., here's a quick look at just a few of the notable designs you'll see on the 2016 special.

LEGOs! 

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, the State Dining Room celebrates The Gift of Family and Friends. Inspiration for the room’s décor comes from the feeling of warmth at the holidays—spending time with family and friends and celebrating together in our homes. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

The State Dining Room is a LEGO-lover’s dream: 56 gingerbread houses (one for each U.S. state and territory) made from more than 200,000 LEGO bricks are tucked under trees throughout the space. The mantel, in turn, has an 18-foot LEGO "paper" chain (4,900 bricks). At-home architects, take note: The custom gingerbread pieces took a team of seven LEGO Master Builders 500 hours to design and build. Better get started on 2017’s holiday decor now. (And enlist some help—which echoes the room’s theme, “the gift of family and friends." Well played, White House.)

A Pencil Tree

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, host Egypt Sherrod, shows off the Christmas tree made of No. 1 pencils in the Library of the White House. The Gift of Education will be brought to life in The Library, highlighting the more than 2,700 books housed there. Rulers will rim the base of the holiday trees while crayons and pencils create additional standalone trees. The colorful ornaments on display will spell out the word “girls” in 12 different languages, paying homage to the First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

White House Christmas host Egypt Sherrod is right at home in the library, where decorations celebrate “the gift of education” and highlight the room’s 2,700 books. Pencils and crayons form standalone trees, and the ornaments on display spell out the word GIRLS in 12 different languages—a nod to the First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative.

The Garden Hose Tree

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House with decorated large red pots adorned with green garland and a water hose. On March 20, 2009 Michelle Obama broke ground on the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

The White House Kitchen Garden has its own “tree” made entirely of garden hoses. (Don’t worry, the South Lawn’s beehive—which helps pollinate the garden—does not have a Christmas tree made entirely of bees.)

Puppies

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, when guests enter the East Hallway, they are greeted by 8,000 bows and ribbons lining the hallway, leading to larger than life replicas of Bo and Sunny—who have gotten into the presents—made of more than 25,000 yarn pom-poms. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

Beware of puns in the East Hallway, where more than 8,000 bows and ribbons welcome guests at the East Visitor Entrance. Giant replicas of First Dogs Sunny and Bo have gotten into the presents. If you’ve ever suspected Portuguese Water Dogs are secretly made of yarn, here’s proof: These two are 25,000 pompoms.

Making of the White House Christmas Tree

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, host Egypt Sherrod, speaks with volunteers as they work on decorating in the Blue Room of the White House. Inside this oval room will be this year’s White House Christmas Tree—a 19 foot Douglas Fir donated by a tree farm in Pennsylvania, trimmed to fit into the Blue Room. Ornaments on the tree reflect the unity of our nation, donated by our fellow citizens across the country, as well as our military service members serving in the U.S. and overseas. The tree’s garland features a ribbon with the preamble to the U.S Constitution. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

Egypt pitched in to help prepare the massive, one-of-a-kind garland for the White House Christmas Tree: a ribbon hand-lettered with the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The tree itself is a 19-foot Douglas Fir, donated by a tree farm in Pennsylvania and trimmed to fit in the Blue Room.

Reflections

As seen on HGTV's White House Christmas 2016, inside this oval Blue Room will be this year’s White House Christmas Tree—a 19 foot Douglas Fir donated by a tree farm in Pennsylvania, trimmed to fit into the Blue Room. Ornaments on the tree reflect the unity of our nation, donated by our fellow citizens across the country, as well as our military service members serving in the U.S. and overseas. The tree’s garland features a ribbon with the preamble to the U.S Constitution. This year’s holiday theme, “The Gift of the Holidays,” reflects on not only the joy of giving and receiving, but also the true gifts of life, such as service, friends and family, education, and good health, as we celebrate the holiday season.

Mirrored silhouettes on the Blue Room’s mantel ‘reflect’ national unity as exemplified by our military service members, and ornaments on the tree itself—donated by citizens around the country—bear greetings to loved ones serving in the U.S. and overseas.

Take a Tour of the White House at Christmas

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Ready to see the rest of the White House Christmas celebration? Don't miss the White House Christmas 2016 special on HGTV, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.

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