#1The White House

 

There are public museums, private museums, and hybrids like the White House that is both these and much more. Often referred to as “The People’s House”, this small jewel of a building is set in immaculately landscaped grounds in central Washington, DC. Not only is it a “museum” of exquisite antiquities and works of art, most donated by loyal citizens of the nation or given as gifts by visiting foreign dignitaries, it also serves as the office of the President of the United States, his official residence and that of the First Family.

 

The National Christmas Tree is seen on the Ellipse, south of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 07 December 2014. President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas tree, a 14.6 meter high Balsam fir, in 1923. The White House

The National Christmas Tree is seen on the Ellipse, south of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 07 December 2014. President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas tree, a 14.6 meter high Balsam fir, in 1923.

 

The White House is a pleasure to tour any time but especially so during the Christmas holidays. Since President and Mrs. John Adams hosted their first Christmas party there in 1800, the public rooms have been decorated to the hilt at the hands of hundreds of talented and inspired volunteers who implement designs by the likes of Carolina Herrerra, Duro Oluwu, Carol Lim, and Humberto Leon.

 

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This year the public rooms, foyer, grand hall and several outdoor areas share a total of sixty-three magnificent evergreen trees of all shapes and sizes. Huge paper snowflakes that represent each of the 50 states and six US territories flutter from the rafters. The State Dining room wall is centered by a traditional nativity scene and the room’s corners are inhabited by larger-than-life characters drawn from “The Nutcracker Suite”.

 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a formal portrait in front of the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House.Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a formal portrait in front of the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House.

 

The White House Library of 2700 books has been turned into a “forest of novels”; the Vermeil Room is a “silver wonderland” that shines on large portraits of First Ladies; the Blue Room is filled with the “official” White House Christmas tree that this year is a magnificent 18-foot-1-inch Fraser fir that grew in Pennsylvania. In the Red Room, where First Lady Dolley Madison held her salons, two Christmas trees are “dressed” in cranberry garlands, apples, and pomegranates. In the gardens outside an “army” of snowmen of all sizes can be seen spread out among the greenery.

 

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These are but a few highlights of a mesmerizing array of unique decorations and artefacts amidst the veritable history of the United States, its Presidents, and First Families. There is a deep sense of both past and present among the spectacular decorations.

 

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Visitors are invited to share in the celebration of the holiday decorations at the White House each year. American citizens can contact the offices of their Member of the House of Representatives or their Senator for a reservation; foreign nationals should contact their embassies in Washington to request a visit. An opportunity to visit the White House during its Holiday Open House season is a privilege not to be missed.

For details, see: whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

 

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Ornaments are on display in the State Dining Room during first lady Michelle Obama's preview of the 2015 holiday decor at the White House December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady welcomed military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2015 holiday decorations. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Ornaments are on display in the State Dining Room during first lady Michelle Obama’s preview of the 2015 holiday decor at the White House December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady welcomed military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2015 holiday decorations.

 

 

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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 02: The State Dining Room is decorated during first lady Michelle Obama's preview of the 2015 holiday decor at the White House December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady welcomed military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2015 holiday decorations. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 02: The State Dining Room is decorated during first lady Michelle Obama’s preview of the 2015 holiday decor at the White House December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady welcomed military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2015 holiday decorations.

 

 

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