First Lady Michelle Obama and military children decorated Christmas cookie ornaments, made tissue-paper flowers and used dried fruit to make tiny wreaths into the State Dining Room at the White House.
Two life-sized replicas of the Obamas’ Portuguese water dogs – Bo and his little sister Sunny – made from black satin ribbon, are one of the first things people will see this month as an expected 70,000 visitors stream in to the White House for tours and holiday functions. Both dogs wag their tails and Bo gives a high-five. They are surrounded by Christmas trees made of books.
Sunny and Bo, dark chocolate miniature versions, are also part of the annual gingerbread White House display. Both dogs hang out near a functioning replica of the fountain on the North Lawn. The illuminated, edible White House sits on top of a life-sized fireplace fashioned from more than 1,200 Springerle cookies. The entire display weighs about 300 pounds and is trashed after the holidays due to its prolonged exposure to so many people.
Sunny and Bo, dark chocolate miniature versions, are part of the annual gingerbread White House display
Michelle Obama, who has emphasized support for military families, gave some of them a first look at the decked-out White House halls on Wednesday. She asked Americans gathering with friends and family for the holidays to also remember the men and women in uniform.
“During this holiday season, as we gather with our loved ones, I’d ask every American to remember what our military families and service members often experience during this time of year,” Michelle Obama said.
“Let us all remember the sacrifices they make to proudly serve all of us.”
An annual highlight of the decorations is the official White House Christmas Tree. This year it’s a towering 18 ½-foot Douglas fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania, that fills the oval-shaped Blue Room. It honors military families, a holiday tradition of Michelle Obama’s, and among its trimmings are photos of their joyous homecomings.
This year’s White House Christmas theme is “Gather Around: Stories of the Season” and is focused on stories behind American holiday traditions.
[youtube cKpQUpPORkE 650]
First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas Tree to her home – a 19-foot Fraser fir from Peak Farms in Jefferson, North Carolina.
Michelle Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, and the first dog Bo were also in attendance for the presentation of the giant tree, which arrived on a horse-drawn carriage on Friday morning.
As the carriage, driven by two men in dapper top hats and red bow ties, pulled up outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the Marine Band played Oh Christmas Tree.
With Malia and Sasha smiling and petting Bo, Michelle Obama gave the “thumbs up” after inspecting the tree, which she called “perfect”.
“I think we’ll take it!” Michelle Obama laughed.
“We can have Christmas now.”
Yet the inspection was merely a formality as the tree was selected by White House staffers in early October and harvested this month.
First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas Tree to her home
The tree will be placed on display in the Blue Room, where it will become the centerpiece of the White House Christmas decorations.
It came from Rusty and Beau Estes, this year’s grand champion winners of the National Christmas Tree Association, which has provided the White House tree each year since 1966.
Trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk, North Carolina were chosen for the vice president’s home.
“This is the first time the White House tree and vice president’s tree have come from the same state,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
“It speaks volumes about the quality of trees available in North Carolina.”
North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Christmas tree production, after Oregon, and more than 5 million trees are harvested there each year.
Last year’s White House tree, an 18-and-a-half-ft balsam fir, came from Neshkoro, Wisconsin.
The official Christmas tree for the Capitol will arrive on Monday and will be lit by House Speaker John A. Boehner on December 4.
The 65-foot Engelmann spruce is stopping in 28 different communities on its journey across the country from the White River National Forest in Colorado to Washington.
It will be decorated with around 5,000 ornaments handcrafted by Coloradans to celebrate this year’s theme, Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.