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!
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!