White House Christmas Tour

Our holiday season has been full of lots of amazing events and activities this year.  Celebrating Christmas with my own child this year, puts it into a whole new perspective, it truly is a joyous and magical time of the year. 
One of the things I've always wanted to do is decorate the white house for Christmas, while this is not something I was able to do this year, I did enjoy a tour with the Junior League of Washington this morning.  It was amazing and while my decorating dreams are merely to help hand flowers, bows or tinsels to the artist who decorate America's House - today's tour made me realize that if I ever plan to get on the decorating team - I've got a lot of work to do.  A few steps above decorating Constitution Hall for the Daughters of the American Revolution Open House across the street, at least I'm warming up.

I didn't bring my nice camera and wish I did, but knew it would prohibit pictures ever being shared with anyone in a timely manner - so my iphone will have to do for my recap.

This is going to be a picture heavy treat of what I got to experience this morning!  I know my mom and mother in law will love it at least.

“This year’s theme is ‘Joy to All.’ It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.” The first lady describing the theme of the decorations this year.

We entered through the east wing, I loved the magnolia branches in the greenery and the red balls spilling over the side

 Love the square wreaths!
 Snowflake greenery - I can't imagine how long it takes to make these.
 Upon entering the East Wing the scent of pine, balsam and fir fill the air - it's what you want your house to smell like at Christmas.  Each column was covered in this geometric design of pomegranate seeds, gold pine cone pieces and folded green leaves - it was beautiful.

 Nancy Reagan in her famous red dress
"The East Landing pays tribute to our Armed Forces and their families. Wreaths crafted with red, white, and blue yarn adorn the walls, and a Christmas tree decorated with festive ornaments completes the space.  Every day, we are grateful for the courageous service of our troops, veterans, and their families, and in the spirit of the season, we take time to honor their countless contributions to our Nation."

 Wreaths and stained glass on one side of the breezeway.
 While photo collages of White House Christmas moments flank the opposite wall.
The East Garden Room is a children’s wonderland! The room is filled with vibrant colors and wreaths made of gingerbread. 

These ornaments glow with color and are so beautiful
 A life-size replica of Bo, the First Family’s Portuguese water dog, is the centerpiece of the room, and handmade “Boflakes” hang from the trees.
A sample of holiday cards from the white house - how fun to be on their mailing list!

 Why yes, I would love to walk down this hall.

 Humm could someone put a tutorial for this on pinterest please?
 The Library is decorated in classic red and green tones. On display are replicas of holiday cards and notes from past Administrations. Sending warm tidings in the form of holiday cards is a long-standing American  tradition - one our past Presidents and First Families have carried forward with their own distinct touches.  Today, the Library is home to 2,700 books, but prior to a renovation in 1935, the room served as a laundry  room and a gentlemen’s waiting room.

 The timeless elegance and grace of our Nation’s past First Ladies can be felt in the Vermeil Room, where  we pause to celebrate the joy of giving. Lovely presents large and small, wrapped with care, remind us of the  fulfillment we experience when we give of ourselves to others around us. Given to the White House by philanthropist Margaret Thompson Biddle in 1958, the 1,575-piece vermeil silver collection represents the spirit of generosity.

 In the China Room, the Truman China is set to illustrate the joy of families sitting down to enjoy a holiday dinner. This set was selected by First Lady Bess Truman in 1951 and is the first state china service to feature the Presidential Coat of Arms as redesigned by President Harry Truman in 1945.
 Decorations evoking our country’s proud artistic heritage festoon the East Room, where we take time to marvel at the joy of American folk art. Over the course of our history, folk artisans have delighted Americans young and old with the scenes and stories depicted in their work. This year, creative traditions central to our cultural identity are represented in every corner of this historic space-from the handcrafted wooden ornaments on each of the trees to antique paintings and needlework on display.

 It was such an honor to be in these majestic halls - truly an amazing experience!
 Once we were upstairs, beautiful Christmas music filled the air from the band playing in one of the reception rooms.
 Well this certainly puts my nativity scene to shame.

 In the Green Room, wintertime’s serene splendor surrounds us as we reflect on the joy of the winter garden. Miniature terrariums dangle from the trees and remind us of the beauty of the outdoors. President Theodore Roosevelt—one of our Nation’s most ardent and effective conservationists—would not allow trees to be cut down for use in the White House during the holidays. Not to be deterred, his vivacious children snuck a small tree into the house, which they secretly decorated with twinkling white lights with the help of a staff  electrician. Imagine President Roosevelt’s surprise on Christmas morning when the tree was finally revealed!

Look there's Bo the dog!
 Small scenes - ice skating here.

 The cardinal, the "state" bird of Virgina. Everyone calls us a commonwealth, not a state - so perhaps the commonwealth bird of Virginia?
 What a view!
 The history of our Nation has been shaped by the brave men and women who have devoted themselves to protecting our country. The troops, veterans, and military families who serve our country with pride represent what is best about America, and this holiday season, the Blue Room pays tribute to their courageous service.

By contributing ornaments they decorated themselves, military children living on U.S. Military Bases all over the world helped trim the official White House Christmas tree-an enchanting 18-foot-6- inch Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina. These one-of-a-kind ornaments honor their parents’ commitment to service.
 In the early 19th century, First Lady Dolley Madison used this room to receive visitors during her famous Wednesday-evening receptions. At that time, the fabrics throughout the room were a bright sunflower yellow; in fact, the famous red color scheme was not adopted until 1845.  In honor of its current red hue, the room is customarily decorated with cranberries—and the tradition continues this year with a cranberry, pepperberry, and billy ball flower-covered vase holding a festive floral arrangement. As a tribute to Mrs. Dolley Madison and its former golden shade, lemon topiaries are on display to provide cheerful pops of yellow throughout the room. Christmas trees frame the space and a colorful garland of crimson cranberries and sunny lemons adorns the mantel.

My first time in the state dining room!
 The State Dining Room—a site for official dinners and diplomatic receptions—is filled with vibrant holiday tones. The 300-pound gingerbread house on display is a favorite for children and parents alike and has been a popular holiday ritual at the White House since the 1960s. Brightly colored stained glass covers the bay windows, and seasonal garland frames George P. A. Healy’s famous portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.

 The North Entrance and Cross Hall create a warm atmosphere for White House visitors. Garland cascades down the Grand Staircase, greenery wraps the columns, and festive wreaths cover the windows overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. Four trees are decorated with a collection of iconic ornaments that best represent the holiday legacies of former First Ladies.

 This space is designed to celebrate and pay tribute to past White House holidays and the rich heritage of celebrations, traditions, and styles that have evolved over the years. The custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960s, when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a Nutcracker-themed Christmas for her daughter, Caroline. The tradition has been honored for over 50 years with such themes as Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s “Early Americana,” Mrs. Patricia Nixon’s “Season of Gold,” Mrs. Betty Ford’s “Homespun Christmas,” Mrs. Rosalynn Carter’s “Classic American Christmas,” Mrs. Nancy Reagan’s “Old Fashioned Christmas,” Mrs. Barbara Bush’s “Christmas in Storyland,” Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s “Winter Wonderland,” and Mrs. Laura Bush’s “Red, White, and Blue Christmas.”

 A menorah for Josh in front of the mirror.

 This was such a special treat I was able to enjoy with friends in the Junior League, I'm so glad they were able to put this tour together for us and that Josh watched James for me this morning so I could go!


eas said...

wow. love all these pictures. i am so jealous you got to see the white house inside. next year i'm going to have to try to go. lucky your husband watched the baby too!

we just saw the national christmas tree on saturday night-way too many people and tourists.

I Do Declare said...

It looks gorg this year. I haven't been in years at Christmas time!

Dee Stephens said...

I'm jealous too. I watched the HGTV Special Saturday night on the this year's decorations.
TONS AND TONS of work!! WHEW!!
My favorite is the tribute to the military families.

Kristin said...

Very very cool!! Love all the pictures.

Absolutely Fabulous said...

How amazing! I'm so glad you got to experience this!

Melissa said...

So cool! Griffin and I just watched the HGTV White House Christmas special this morning, which is always one of my favorite Christmas activities. It's so neat that you got to see it in person-I am envious!

Ruth said...

The decorations are beautiful