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White House Christmas Decorating Tips

Get holiday decorating tips from former White House chief floral designer, Laura Dowling.

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Photo: Lawrence Jackson

Fireplace Mantel Design

Christmas is one of the most celebrated events at The White House. Laura Dowling was the chief floral designer for six years, and together with a group of volunteers, she created holiday magic. In 2010, she decorated the Diplomatic Reception Room mantel with a citrus-inspired scheme. To get a similar look in your home, use a base layer of evergreen garland. Next, add clusters of fruit and colored ornaments in and around the garland using three colors of wide satin ribbon to create swags and bold impact. Finally, tuck in small gift-wrapped presents in coordinating colors.

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A Modern Take on Traditional Design

Each year, the Red Room sparkled with elaborate and festive holiday decorations, including the traditional cranberry element that has been a fixture since 1975. "Over the years, I created different versions of the cranberry tree, including a transparent sphere made of wood and pine, flower vessels made of sugar paste flowers and berries, and other unique designs," Laura said.

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Photo: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

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Photo: Laura Dowling/Stichting Kunstboek

Floral Candelabra

The soft incandescent light of candles at Christmas time is an integral part of holiday decor. Here, a large arrangement of white winter flowers and greenery, presented in a magnolia leaf-covered vase, is transformed into a candelabra with coordinating candles. Follow these simple instructions to get the look.

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