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Holidays at the White House

The 2016 Holidays

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

The 2016 White House Holiday Tourbook
Select the image to view the PDF of the 2016 White House holiday tour book.

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 East Colonnade is decorated with crystals hanging in the air like snowflakes, ribbons cascading from the ceiling, and rows of trees twinkling brilliantly just outside the windows.

Gold Star ornaments adorn the evergreen that honors the men and women who have laid down their lives for our country.

Nutcracker dressed as a soldier in the East Garden Room, which pays tribute to our nation's service members and veterans.

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:

Joining Forces Logo

For more information on supporting our service members, veterans, and their families, please visit To engage online, please use #JoiningForces.

The White House Library is adorned with a child's school supplies, supporting the First Lady's Let Girls Learn and Reach Higher initiatives.


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.

Reach Higher Logo

Visit to learn more about the First Lady’s initiative encouraging young people to attain a higher education and 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

Door leading to the Blue Room is decorated with garland, with a sneak peek of the Christmas Tree.

This year's iconic Blue Room Christmas Tree celebrates "We the People," as it is trimmed with ribbon garland featuring the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

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.

This year's White House Gingerbread House is made of 150 pounds of gingerbread.

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.

Red and blue ribbons cascade from the ceiling in the East Colonnade.

Resting atop a table, cranberries create gift boxes in festive celebration, and placed in planter boxes, two pine trees dressed in ornaments stand in the window frames.

This year, the China Room displays thirty intricate holiday ornaments, representing former Administrations. These decorations honor the gifts that each President bestowed upon our great Nation.

Large representations of the First Family's dogs, Bo and Sunny, stand on the East Landing.

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.

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In Photos: White House Holidays Through the Years

The Obamas The George W. Bushs The Clintons