White House Holiday Social


By Jueseppi B.




Here’s what we’re doing for the holidays:


Folks across the country are getting ready for the holidays. We’re celebrating here at the White House, too — and we want you to be a part of it.


We’ve launched our 2013 Holidays page. Check it out for exclusive videos, recipes, and more.


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P.S. — Next week we’re holding a meet-up here at the White House for our online followers. Want to be here for it? Click here to find out how.


White House Holiday Social


Apply for your chance to join the White House Holiday Social on Monday, December 16th, 2013

On Monday, December 16th, 2013 we’re inviting our Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter followers to join us for a Holiday Social at the White House. White House Social guests will be invited to check out the décor, meet with the people that helped transform the White House for the holidays, join us for a craft project — and share it all with their followers with the hashtag #WHHoliday.


Sign Up

Sign up for your chance to join other White House social media followers at the #WHHoliday social. In order to apply you must follow an official White House Twitter,Pinterest or Instagram account. After you sign up, spread the word! Let your followers know that you applied to attend the #WHHoliday social.


What is a White House Social?

White House Socials are in-person meetings of people who engage with the White House through social media, including TwitterFacebook and Google+Pinterest andInstagram. Building off of the White House Tweetup series, we’re inviting people that engage with us online on a range of social sites to participate in face-to-face meetings and events.


Past White House Social events have included a Twitter Town Hall with the President, a Tweetup Briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney, a Let’s Move! Tweetup for the First Lady’s garden harvest, a Republic of Korea Arrival Ceremony Tweetup, a Holiday Open House Tweetup, a United Kingdom Arrival Ceremony Tweetup, a White House Google+ Photowalk during the 2012 Spring Garden Tours, a Pinterest Holiday Social


How do I register?

Registration opens at WhiteHouse.gov/social-apply at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 8th and and closes on 12:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 11th. Tickets are non-transferable.


Do I need to have a social media account to register?

This event is designed for people who regularly interact with the White House via TwitterPinterest andInstagram. Registration is open to those who are active users on these social media platforms.


What are the registration requirements?

Registration indicates your intent to travel to the White House in Washington, D.C. on the morning of Monday, December 16th, 2013 to attend the White House Social in person. You will bear any costs associated with travel and lodging. All guests over the age of 18 will be required to present a valid, government-issued photo identification (detailed here).


What if I cannot come to Washington, DC?

If you cannot come to the White House in Washington, D.C. to attend in person, you should not register for the White House Social. You can follow the event on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram with the hashtag #WHHoliday.


When will I know if I am selected?

The White House will contact applicants via email with additional instructions to those that have been invited or added to the wait list. If you have been selected, you will be notified no later than Wednesday, December 11th, 2013.



Information on White House Christmas 2013


2013 White House Christmas – Gather Around


The theme for the White House Christmas 2013 is Gather Around, a celebration of coming together with loved ones at this special time of year, and of the stories behind our beloved and classic American holiday traditions. In celebrating heartfelt memories from American families across the country and First Families throughout the years, Gather Around seeks to have us share our stories with one another and inspire us for the season and into theNew Year.


Using thoughtful hand-made volunteer crafts and recycled classic pieces, the Gather Around decorations tell a story with each room and every tree in the White House. Special art displays and Christmas trees made from repurposed books help this year’s theme come alive, and warm, traditional colors inspired by nature help unify the theme throughout the house.


This year’s decorations also honor our military families, a tradition started by Mrs. Obama, whose Joining Forces initiative seeks to honor and support those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.



East Visitor Entrance 
The East Visitor Entrance serves as a welcoming point for guests as they begin their tours of the White House. The walkway leading to the house features lanterns, the two trees that flank the East entrance are complete with gold pinecones and the garland around the entrance is accented by burgundy ribbons.



East Entrance Landing 

The area between the entrance and the East Colonnade is dedicated to honoring our military members and their families. The landing features a tree dedicated to the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and includes ornaments placed by Gold Star families, as well as ornaments representing all five branches of the military. Visitors are encouraged to write postcards thanking our service members serving abroad, and to pledge volunteer hours through Operation Honor Cards in order to give back during the holiday season and the New Year.



East Colonnade 
The windows of the East Colonnade feature evergreen and stained glass wreaths, and at the end of the hallway is a handmade archway made from satin ribbon and chenille stems. Outside in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden sits a Christmas tree wrapped in lights, perched atop a sleigh.



East Garden Room 
The East Garden Room, commonly known as “Booksellers,” showcases stacked books which morph into Christmas trees, and a special book display that spells out the message “Share Your Story.” The east wall of the room features ribbon topiaries of the First Dogs – with a high-fiving Bo and a playful Sunny coming to life to delight the many children that will visit the White House this holiday season.



The Library 
Accenting the many books in the Library is a Christmas tree styled with golden pinecones and burlap ribbon, decorated with poinsettia detail and a burgundy scroll design. A basket at the foot of the fireplace holds ornaments and glowing white lights.



Vermeil Room 
This year, the Vermeil Room houses two Christmas trees, each adorned with wreath ring ornaments wrapped in satin yarn, and small door ornaments made by volunteers.



China Room 
The eight-foot Christmas tree in the China Room is decorated with dangling crystal ornaments, red berries and fresh greenery. The table in the center of the room includes cylinder glass votive holders etched with the words “Gather Around.” Fresh greenery covers the mantelpiece, decorated with red, gold and silver ornaments matching the tree.



Grand Foyer and Cross Hall 
The Grand Foyer and Cross Hall are decorated to celebrate both individual American families and our nation as a whole. The four large Christmas trees decorating the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall are adorned with snowflake ornaments and notes written by volunteers expressing their holiday wishes. Small wooden picture frame ornaments hold silhouettes of landmarks from around our nation including the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the Golden Gate Bridge.



State Dining Room 
The State Dining Room features two 14 foot Christmas trees placed on either side of the mantelpiece, decorated with tin hearts, painted and decoupaged with the word “gratitude.” The State Dining Room is also home to the famous gingerbread house. Over the course of several weeks, members of the White House pastry team created a 300-pound, edible White House replica. This year’s creation features a mini Bo and Sunny sitting on the front steps of the house lit from within, and a functioning replica of the North Lawn fountain. This year, the gingerbread house rests on a life-size, custom-made hearth fashioned from Springerle Cookies. These sweet treats tell stories through images imprinted on their dough by hand-carved, wooden molds. Framing the opening of the hearth are sugar paste recreations of the tiles commissioned forPresident Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireplace. The edible fireplace reminds us of President Roosevelt’s famous “fireside chats” and will certainly evoke memories for so many of their own special moments gathered around a fireplace.



Red Room 
For years, the Red Room has been home to the traditional White House cranberry tree. In keeping with this custom, a crimson and plum-colored flower and fruit vase—hand-made entirely of sugar paste—contains a one-of-a-kind arrangement of scarlet and fuchsia flowers and berries. The Red Room also features round stained glass wreaths hanging in the window bays above two 8 foot Christmas trees. Burlap cones filled with fresh greens and red berry accents decorate the Christmas trees, and gold painted nutcrackers accent the side tables of the room.



Blue Room 

This oval room is home to the official White House Christmas Tree. This year’s tree, like many in years past, features decorations honoring our military families. More than 2,000 distinctive ornaments decorate the 18.5 foot Douglas fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Children living on bases across the country created holiday greeting cards, many of which share their favorite holiday traditions. Other ornaments feature photographs of deployment homecomings, celebrating the joyous moment when families are reunited after long separations. These personalized decorations, along with round fabric ornaments featuring the silhouettes of each state and territory, hang from the tree’s branches. The tree also holds small globe ornaments, three-dimensional gold and silver paper-mache stars and ribbons hand-embroidered by volunteers with each state and territory.



Green Room 
Flower ornaments, sugared fruits and lush foliage convey the beauty of nature in the Green Room. In each window bay, 21-inch round stained glass windows with floral motifs hang above an 8-foot Christmas tree. Round disc ornaments decorated with red poppies adorn the trees, along with orange and red felt flowers and faux sugared fruits. Thick fresh greenery along with ornaments decorate the mantelpiece.



East Room 
The East Room celebrates the act of sharing stories through art, and features four Christmas trees decorated with upwards of 120 detailed, unique ornaments created by volunteers. Ornaments include decorated miniature cardboard houses, large hand crafted paper roses and glass bell jars filled with small decorative pieces, such as miniature picture frames of art. On the wall of the East Room sits the White House crèche. The crèche has been a part of the White House holiday décor since it was given by the Engelhard Family during the Johnson Administration in 1967. Originally from Naples, Italy, the Baroque-style set consists of 44 terra cotta and wood figures, some over 300 years old.


For additional information, including the 2013 Holiday Tour Book and instructions on crafts the military children will create today, go toWH.gov/Holidays. Holiday-related content from the White House will be tagged #WHHoliday.


  • The official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room stands 18 ½ feet high and is nearly 11 feet wide. It comes from Crystal Springs Tree Farm in Lehighton, PA.
  • 24 Christmas trees will be visible on the public tour route.
  • Over 450 repurposed books were used as part of the holiday decorations this year. They will be donated to a local school’s book drive following the holiday season.
  • Approximately 1,000 yards of satin ribbon were used to make this year’s replicas of the First Dogs Bo and Sunny.
  • Over 1,200 Springerle cookies were used on the gingerbread fireplace in the State Dining Room.
  • Nearly 300 lbs. of bread dough were used to make the completely edible White House replica in the State Dining Room.
  • Approximately 70,000 visitors are expected to visit the White House during the 2013 holiday season.


First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2013 White House Holiday Decorations

December 04, 2013 | 11:14 |Public Domain


First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2013 holiday decorations and asks every American to remember what our military families and servicemembers often experience during this time of year, and the sacrifices they make to proudly serve all of us.




Susan K. Donius
December 05, 2013
10:45 AM EST


Ed. note: Today at 4:10 ET, tune in to whitehouse.gov/live to see President Obama deliver remarks at a White House Hanukkah Reception


The First Lady & Bo welcome military families for the first look of the whitehouse holiday decorations

The First Lady & Bo welcome military families for the first look of the whitehouse holiday decorations



41 replies »

  1. What an awesome layout of the White House seasonal festive decorations..I’ve been to the W.H. before but never this time of year..So I’ve only ever seen the National lighting of the W.H. tree..Nice to see , in detail, the rest of the decorations..I’m still! trying to figure out how to ‘decorate’ my page for Christmas..It is so black &white; needs some colorful & bright color🙂


      • Cool…Speaking of Mandela..Last night I went to an African Christmas Affair..I heard music from Mandela’s home, the Motherland..Not even sure I can express how much fun I had! So I won’t even attempt..Except to say I danced till I was wet! With sweat..


      • Glad you had a good time but why didn’t you take a date? That was the perfect time for your doctor to get a night with you out and about.


      • Because I’m not ready to present either of the guys I’m dating as ‘My man’ to my family , my church family or co-workers..And? People from those 3 groups were present..I actually went with 2 other very close female friends ; who are also single. I’m preparing to blog on the topic though; somewhat….This will be the last Christmas I’m single.(3rd only in my life; and the last)


      • Ahhhh ok..Well, I am also a very fast learner also..Didn’t realize this was your BS response though..I could say more, but am learning to bite my tongue with you; at times. Have a marvelous Monday!


      • NOOOOOOOOO….never bite your tongue with me, I am a sarcastic son of a bastard at times but with you, and only you, it’s all done in fun.


      • Awwww I love that@only you part! Makes me feel so dang special to get that type of sarcasm from you..lol, lol! Actually Jueseppi? I’d not have you any other way than as you are…So I’m happy you give me the types of answers you do. It took me a minute at the beginning; remember that? To realize you meant no harm; and not to hurt my feelings..But since then? I appreciate it/you because I know I don’t have to guess what is on your mind..Black and white ; not really much grey area type of answers..I’m that way about 85-90% of the time..rest of the time? I’m a lot of sentimental-ish/ emotional . grey area-ish type of mood/responses, etc etc..Hope that makes sense..The more I text the further I’m getting away from what I’m trying to convey..so I am stopping there..Hows your Monday going so far? Oh! Did I tell you I decided I will become a twitterer? Only for the reason we discussed..


      • You did not tell me you plan to become a twitter’er….and thats good you decided to join the madness. As for me, I couldn’t change me even if I desired to do so….which i do not, my dear. I am having a good Monday, how bout you?


      • Glad to hear that..So you’re staying bundled up in the Windy City? Has it snowed yet???? I really wanted to play in the snow in Baltimore; but never snowed..I’m having a good, but as usual, busy Monday. Not overwhelmingly busy, but busy. And I didn’t find time to blog/rant/vent last night; but aiming to again tonight


      • Lol..Well, I start off every day with a list of goals..I start off every month with a list of monthly goals..I start off every new year with a list of goals for that year..IF I get at the leat 80% of those goals accomplished on time? I’m pretty satisfied..But I push and make really big goals for myself..IF I don’t; who will? I am my best motivator and my own worst critic..And yes, whether I pass out or not before I finish, I have alist of goals for every night. Oh, and then there are the unexpected lovely surprises that can happen that blow my list of goals to crap! Like surprise late night , pleasant phone calls..🙂


      • I have no goals. Whatever I accomplish falls into the plus column.😉

        How is that dating thing coming along?


      • I thought I got you up-to-speed with the dating thing..Or did I table that topic until I had more time? OR was that the question I answered when you gave me your BS ‘uh huh’ response? Hmmmm..lol


      • Ahh ok..Well, I’ve got girlfriends trying to link us and hook us up..One of them wanted to get a ticket to him to one of the events I attended Saturday night..But, couldn’t catch up with him(her schedule is turbo busy too!) Otherwise I’d have probably wound up on the dance floor with him afterwards..OMgosh Jueseppi I danced almost from the moment I entered the place, literally till the moment we walked out..Found out today; they’re still talking about it! When I go to have a good time? I am going to have a good time..and when it comes to dancing there are no holds barred. I don’t get how people can sit still when the beat, especially bass, calls my name. And with African music the pace gets faster & faster & faster and it is like getting caught up in a rythmic hip shaking momentum. Great workout too. But, enough of my rambling/flashback, I have a question for you..


      • Of course I know what stepping is! I’m a natural dancer; and can dance to any music that has a pulse/beat..Any genre of dance..Though I’ve won no awards for dancing, lol, but I hear any time I dance? That is a captivating thing to watch when I dance..I get lost & I care less whose watching. Anyways@award winning; I am impressed.


      • I have missed you too my friend!! This last 6 months has been very very busy, new job, new house, new town with a few medical issues thrown in just to keep it interetsting. I posted a little something about a week ago and am hopeful to start regular posts again. I have been reading your posts and recently followed you on Twitter as well, I am @psychadelicchic. I am thrilled to see you are still doing such a fabulous job with your blog!! Take care and chat again soon! Keep up the incredible work:-)


      • I am happy for you, sounds as if you are having a wonderful time with life and for that I am happy. I have missed your artwork but I am thrilled you are experiencing the joy of life. Good luck and come visit.


    • Hey Ms. Barbara, how is your Sunday going? Thats a great award you created…The Mandela Humanitarian Award. Thank you for reblogging.


      • Oh I am glad you like it. I was very personal for me to design something that demonstrated my respect and gratitude for his life. The photo was one that I took in the Bahamas while we were on my cruise. You gave mr the courage to put my art out there and I an great flu to you for that.


      • Well I guess it is hard to take in. I guess on a subconscious level, I still have to fight to turn off the tapes from my mother. That I wa fat, ugly, stupid ect. The same things I would tell my victims at the shelter, I keep trying to do for me. You would think with all the years of therapy I would be ok now and sometimes I am. But…it is why I get seizures. But I am so lucky because she could have killed me or I could have done it. That is why I had a complete breakdown when my husband died. But I had get shrink and therapist who finally got me out of the black hole before shock therapy. LOL Lucky for me. Well enough whining. Sorry


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