The Bidens unveil their first White House Christmas decorations

For their first Christmas in the White House, the Biden family will celebrate with the theme of “gifts from the heart” for their holiday decor.

In unveiling the theme on Monday, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden explained:

“The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, and nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace. These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives.”

In just one week, over 100 volunteers from the local area decorated the outside and inside of the White House with 41 Christmas trees, 6,000 feet of ribbon and over 78,750 holiday lights.

Every room in the White House celebrates a different gift

In the East Colonnade and East Landing, doves and shooting stars adorn the hallways. The decorations honor the service of COVID-19 front-line workers and first responders. Featured here is a Christmas tree that honors military members “who have laid down their lives for our country, and the families who carry on their legacies.”

The library is decorated with stacks of books, as well as birds and butterflies created out of recycled newspaper; it represents the gift of learning. The Vermeil Room is decorated with colorful paint swatches and paintbrushes and represents the gift of the visual arts.

The East Room, the largest room in the White House, represents the gift of gratitude. It is decorated with a Neapolitan crèche that includes over 40 figurines from the 18th century; the crèche has been displayed every holiday season since 1967.

The Blue Room, where the official White House Christmas tree stands, represents the gift of peace and unity. Doves carrying a banner embossed with every U.S. state and territory cascade down the tree.

The Red Room, decorated to represent the gift of the performing arts, includes brass instruments hanging from the mantel. Ballet slippers, tap shoes and musical notes are strung around the tree.

The State Dining Room represents the gift of family. It features a gingerbread White House made of 55 sheets of baked gingerbread. It has eight detailed replicas of community buildings to honor front-line workers, including a hospital, police station and fire station.

The Grand Foyer and Cross Hall represent the gift of faith and community. The area is decorated with floating candles. The hallway alcoves and tree displays depict wintry scenes of towns and cities, representing the bonds of communities.

Tien Le is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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