White House decor honors front-line workers
WASHINGTON - Holiday decorations unveiled Monday for Joe and Jill Biden’s first White House Christmas honor front-line workers who persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurses, doctors, teachers, grocery store workers and others are recognized in this year’s gigantic Gingerbread White House, which was made into a 350-pound gingerbread village with the addition of a school and police, fire and gas stations as well as a hospital, a post office, a grocery store and a warehouse to honor workers who stayed on the job.
Fewer people are likely to see the decked-out mansion in person this year, with public tours still suspended because of the continuing threat from COVID-19. But videos and photos are available at WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays. “Gifts from the Heart” is the theme.
In remarks thanking volunteers for decorating, the first lady explained the vision behind her theme, speaking of unity and her view that everyone comes together around faith, family and friendship, gratitude and service, and love for one’s community.
“For all of our differences, we are united by what really matters,” she said. “Like points on a star, we come together at the heart. That is what I wanted to reflect in our White House this year. In each room, we tell a story of gifts from the heart.”
The first lady, a longtime community college professor, invited Maryland second-graders for Monday’s unveiling of the holiday decorations. They were inspired by people the president and first lady met while traveling around the country this year.
Front-line workers are also represented in the iridescent doves and shooting stars that illuminate the East Colonnade hallway, “representing the peace and light brought to us by all the front-line workers and first responders during the pandemic.”
The other showstopper of holidays at the White House is the official Christmas tree, an 18-foot-tall Fraser fir that commands the Blue Room and is trimmed with white doves and ribbon bearing the names of all U.S. states and territories to celebrate peace and unity.
More than 100 volunteers decorated the White House, including the Oval Office, while the Bidens spent Thanksgiving week in Nantucket, Massachusetts. They trimmed 41 Christmas trees and hung some 6,000 feet of ribbon and more than 10,000 ornaments.
Twenty-five wreaths adorn the exterior of the White House, and nearly 79,000 lights illuminate the Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths and other holiday displays.
Christmas stockings for each of the Biden grandchildren hang from the fireplace mantel in the State Dining Room, which celebrates family, while two trees in that stately room are decorated with framed Biden family photos and photos of other first families during the holiday season.