In our eighth and final Holiday season of the Obama Administration, we present ‘The Gift of the Holidays’.
First Family Attends The Christmas Tree Lighting
First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes military families to the White House to view the 2016 holiday decorations
First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes the Official White House Christmas Tree to the White House
Highlights for this year's holiday décor
This joyous season is always filled with opportunities to perform acts of kindness and goodwill. Whether by expressing gratitude to a service member, offering a token of appreciation to a teacher, or sharing moments of love and laughter with our neighbors, all of us can extend hands of friendship and reflect on what it means to be a part of our American family. As we look toward a new year filled with renewed hope and possibility, let us take time to share the holiday spirit of generosity and compassion with those we love.
Each year, guests from across our country and around the world travel to our nation's capital to rejoice in the holidays. From floor to ceiling, rooms are trimmed with reminders of the bountiful gifts Americans hold dear.
The gift of service and sacrifice
This year’s White House decorations also pay tribute to our Nation's service members and veterans for their gift of service and sacrifice.
The East Garden Room features an American flag display formed from images of brave military members and their families, and Gold Star ornaments adorn the evergreen that honors the men and women who have laid down their lives for our country.
Send a digital message of gratitude to our active duty service men and women. The USO will share your message with our heroes through their centers around the world where our uniformed men and women are currently deployed.Send a message now: www.uso.org/holiday-form
For more information on supporting our service members, veterans, and their families, please visit www.JoiningForces.gov. To engage online, please use #JoiningForces.
The gift of education
The White House Library is a special reminder of the important gift of an education. A cozy room packed full of treasured books, the Library is adorned with a child’s school supplies; yellow pencils, bright crayons, and paper note cards create one-of-a-kind topiaries with chalkboard pedestals. In the colorful ornaments, the word “girls” is spelled in many languages to recognize the millions of adolescent women around the world who are not in school.
Visit www.ReachHigher.gov to learn more about the First Lady’s initiative encouraging young people to attain a higher education and www.LetGirlsLearn.gov to find out more about this Administration’s efforts to improve girls’ education globally.
The gift of good health
Though it is wintry cold outside the White House walls, the Green Room evokes summer’s warmth with a garden of citrus colors. Bursting with bright fruit and scrumptious vegetables, the decorations in the Green Room celebrate the gift of good health and nutritious foods like those in the White House Kitchen Garden. Shimmering gold bees are abundant in the garlands bedecking the room, as no harvest is possible without the buzz of friendly pollinators. Discover more about the White House Kitchen Garden and the First Lady’s initiative to empower a healthier generation at www.LetsMove.gov.
We the People
Each year, a nearly 17 foot 6 inch, farm-grown fir tree stands in the center of the Blue Room—one of the most iconic White House holiday images. First Families ornament the tree with their own designs, and sometimes that requires some ingenuity. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s family lined the base of their tree with gingerbread cookies after visiting children tried to eat their ceramic ornaments.
This year’s tree celebrates “We the People,” as it is trimmed with ribbon garland featuring those iconic words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The tree’s glimmering ornaments, with images of American families, farmers, and service members, reflect our country united by diversity and strengthened by a shared spirit of hope and optimism.
The gift of families
The State Dining Room welcomes visitors home for the holidays and celebrates the gift of families as we gather together during this season. Sweet treats and gumdrop candies trim the wreaths and dress the sconces while the topiaries are frosted in snowy white confections. Centered in the room are two 14-foot fir trees, adorned with a collection of colorful ornaments. Circling the trees on layered shelves are 56 gingerbread houses, one for each of the American states and territories.
A holiday favorite, the White House Gingerbread House takes its place at the north end of the State Dining Room. Assistant Executive Chef Hans Raffert built the first White House Gingerbread House in 1969, and since then, the baked architecture project has become a holiday tradition. This season’s house, created by a talented team with White House Pastry Chef Susie Morrison, is made of 150 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of bread dough, 20 pounds of gum paste, 20 pounds of icing, and 20 pounds of sculpted sugar pieces.
The gift of joyful memories
Over the last eight years, the Obama family has welcomed more than four million guests to “The People’s House.” Families, neighbors, and loved ones have come from near and far to celebrate the holidays—sharing in the gift of joyful memories made together at the White House. In all the holiday seasons to come, the Obamas send warm wishes for continued happiness and hope for the new year.
Engage With Us
Can't make it to the White House for the holidays? Be sure to check our all of our official accounts as we post behind-the-scenes glimpses of the White House during the holiday season.