White House decorations evoke holiday ‘magic, wonder and joy’
The White House is lit up for the holidays, with decorations sure to delight the 100,000 people expected to visit during the winter festivities.
The sparkling touches include 300 candles, 4,564 meters of ribbon, 22,100 bells, 33,892 ornaments, and 142,425 holiday lights. Ninety-eight Christmas trees are on view in the mansion or its grounds, as well as flower displays, garlands and wreaths.
More than 300 volunteers from across the country decorated the White House to inspire “the magic, wonder, and joy” children feel during the holiday season, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement.
“It is a time for our senses to awaken — for each of us to smell the aroma of favorite holiday recipes, to hear the warmth of a dear friend’s voice, to see the glow of lights and decorations, to taste the sweetness of candies and treats, and to feel the quiet stillness and strength of faith,” they add.
Here are a few highlights from the 2023 White House holiday decorations:
Christmas trees displayed at the White House pay tribute to American life. On one tree, handcrafted ornaments showcase U.S. states and territories. A Gold Star tree honors fallen American service members and their families. The White House menorah is made from wooden beams reclaimed from past White House renovations.
The festive scene includes a candy store display, complete with edible nutcrackers, cakes and other confections. A rolling pin, measuring bowl and electric mixer suggest more treats can be whipped up at a moment’s notice.
A gingerbread replica of the White House is an annual tradition. The 2023 Gingerbread White House required 13.6 kilograms of chocolate, 40 sheets of dough, 22.6 kilograms of royal icing and 40.8 kilograms of pastillage, a hard icing that bonds ingredients.
This year’s version celebrates Clement Clarke Moore’s “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a poem children often recite during the holidays. The famous last line of the poem, formally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” is etched across the gingerbread house’s moonlit backdrop: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Replicas of the Bidens’ dog, Commander, and cat, Willow, greet visitors to the Blue Room, where the president traditionally receives guests. The room’s chandelier was removed to accommodate the official White House Christmas tree, which stands 5.6 meters tall and has a toy passenger train circling its base.
Meticulously crafted papier-mâché reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh bring an enchanting storybook touch to the White House’s Grand Foyer. A doorway is flanked by a Sugar Plum Fairy ballerina, on one side, and a mouse nestled into a Christmas stocking on the other side. Gold stars hanging from the ceiling complete the panorama of holiday magic.