White House Christmas Tour


Everyone wants to see the White House holiday decorations, right?! As part of the White House Travel Bloggers Summit on Global Citizenship and Study Abroad that I attended in Washington DC last week, I got the chance to tour the White House all dolled up for the holidays. Cameras are only allowed in the White House during the holiday season, making it an even more special time of year to visit. Come along with me for a White House Christmas tour!

White House Christmas Tour - A Children's Winter Wonderland

White House Christmas Tour – A Children’s Winter Wonderland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

A Children’s Winter Wonderland

A Children’s Winter Wonderland is the theme of this year’s White House Christmas tour. In the East Garden Room, animated replicas of the first family’s dogs, Bo and Sunny, stand guard over a toy train beside two decorated fir trees. Draped across the trees, the word WISH is spelled out. This hopeful word is formed from paper scrolls from students across the country with vows to reach higher in education. This is reflective of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative to encourage students to further their education past high school. Learn more about this program at ReachHigher.gov.

East Landing Christmas tree honoring America's troops in the White House

East Landing Christmas tree honoring America’s troops (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

East Visitor Entrance and Landing honors America’s troops

Upon entering the White House in the East Visitor Entrance and Landing, guests are greeted by a patriotic tree decked out in red, white, and blue. Gold star ornaments honor fallen American heroes. Visitors are encouraged to write a note of thanks to American military members serving overseas. To learn more about how you can join the spirit of service, visit JoiningForces.gov.

White House Library decked out for the holidays (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House Library decked out for the holidays (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House Library at Christmas

Housing more than 2,700 books on American history, the White House Library is used for teas, meetings and press interviews. Travel lovers like me appreciate the hand-painted world globes on the center table.

White House Christmas Tour - Vermeil Room

White House Christmas Tour – Vermeil Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Vermeil Room during the holidays

Once a billiard room, the Vermeil Room displays portraits of recent first ladies and gilded silver (vermeil) objects. The unique Christmas trees represent the feminine form donning holiday fashions.

The White House China Room displays over 200 years of china services used by first families (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The White House China Room displays over 200 years of china services used by first families (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Christmastime in the China Room

The China Room was previously used as a cloakroom and living quarters for White House employees. Today it displays over 200 years of china services used by first families. Not every president ordered state china, so both official and some family table settings are exhibited. Gingerbread cookies made in the White House Pastry Kitchen adorn the China Room tree.

White House East Room featuring a Christmas nativity scene (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House East Room featuring a Christmas nativity scene (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

East Room nativity scene and antique decorations

Among the many traditional Christmas decorations in the East Room is the centerpiece 44-piece nativity scene. The White House crèche has ornamented this room for nearly 50 years. Bundled books, holiday dioramas and an antique carousel reindeer add to the festivities.

An antique carousel reindeer on display in the White House's East Room (Photo credit, Colleen Lanin)

An antique carousel reindeer on display in the White House’s East Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Green Room dressed up in red and green

It’s easy to see why this was named the Green Room with its draperies, upholsteries and silk-covered walls in its namesake color. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy helped redesign this room. Thomas Jefferson hosted dinners here. Today it is used primarily for teas and receptions.

The aptly named Green Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The aptly named Green Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room

The Blue Room houses the official White House Christmas tree, an 18-foot Concolor Fir. The tree is decorated with approximately 2,000 ornaments honoring American service men and women.

A selfie in front of the official White House Christmas tree (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

A selfie in front of the official White House Christmas tree (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Red Room greenery

Miniature houses are nestled among greenery on the fireplace mantel in the Red Room. The room has served as a parlor and music room. Recent presidents have hosted dinner parties here.

Holiday garland on the fireplace mantel in the White House's Red Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Holiday garland on the fireplace mantel in the Red Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

State Dining Room for travel lovers

Travel enthusiasts appreciate the holiday decorations in the State Dining Room. Antique trains and vintage luggage trimmed in gold and dusted in glitter stir up wander lust.

Glittering vintage luggage  encourages wander lust in the White House's State Dining Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Glittering vintage luggage encourages wander lust in the White House’s State Dining Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House gingerbread house

A 300-pound gingerbread house replica of the White House sits in the State Dining Room. It features a miniature skating rink and a marzipan Santa with his sleigh and reindeer. The White House gingerbread house tradition goes back to the 1960s.

White House gingerbread house made of sugar (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House gingerbread house made of sugar (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Icicles and stars in Cross Hall and the Grand Foyer

Snowflakes and glass icicles drip from garlands and trees in Cross Hall and the Grand Foyer. The White House provides a booklet to visitors with descriptions of all of the rooms and holiday decorations, plus the recipe for the presidential gingerbread cookies. In the final section on Cross Hall, it says, “May the glistening snowflakes and the shining stars serve as a reminder to approach life with a child’s wonder. And may we strive each day to embrace opportunity, seek adventure, welcome curiosity, and dream of a future filled with promise and possibility.”

Cross Hall sparkles with faux icicles during the holiday season (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Cross Hall sparkles with faux icicles during the holiday season (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

White House Christmas tour

You can visit the White House too! To schedule a White House Christmas tour, or to view the presidential home any time of the year, you must submit a public tour request through your member of congress. These self-guided tours are available 7:30-11:30 am Tuesday through Thursday and 7:30 am-1:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted). Learn more on the White House website.

Is visiting the White House on your bucket list? Have you ever been? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is a mom of two and the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of THE TRAVEL MAMAS' GUIDE, she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen teaches blogging classes and has given travel tips on television, radio, and as a paid video blogger. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing.

Comments

  1. Ellen Lanin says:

    Love this grand tour of the White House. I haven’t heard if Michelle Obama will televise this year’s decorations like Laura Bush Did several years ago.

  2. I would expect Christmas decorations in the White House to be world class … glad to see I wasn’t disappointed…!

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