First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the long awaited White House Christmas theme of “Reflect, Rejoice, Renew” today. She said this theme was chosen because her family spends the holidays reflecting on its blessings, rejoicing in the company of friends and family and renewing their commitments to each other and causes they believe in.
This year’s theme is being reflected by the use of recycled ornaments, natural materials and environmentally friendly LED lights. Executive pastry chef Bill Yosses and his staff created the traditional gingerbread replica of the White House covered in white chocolate complete with a shadowbox for viewing inside the State Dining Room, with a lit chandelier and dark chocolate furniture. This year there’s also a replica of First Dog, Bo along with Mrs. Obama’s South Lawn garden complete with marzipan vegetables.
Mrs. Obama chose traditional decorations to reflect the architecture and color scheme of each room of the Georgian -style mansion. Natural materials such as hydrangea, magnolia, honeysuckle vine, pepper berries and dried root from her South Lawn vegetable garden decorate trees and wreaths in rooms on the State Floor.
The official Blue Room tree stands at 18 1/2 -by-13 feet and is lit with environmentally friendly LED lights, decorated with huge gold ribbons and bows and more than 600 ornaments from prior administrations.
The ornaments were sent to over 60 local community groups throughout the country with instructions to decorate them in tribute to a favorite local landmark. Landmarks include some Obama hometown favorites like Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, The Art Institute of Chicago and the DuSable Museum.
Mrs. Obama thanked the more than 90 volunteers from 24 states who worked some 3,400 hours to transform the mansion into a Christmas wonderland.
More than 50,000 people are expected to attend 28 holiday parties and open houses at the White House this month with the first on Tuesday night in the East Room, honoring volunteer decorators.
Billionaire talk show host Oprah Winfrey will present “Christmas at the White House,” a prime-time special airing Sunday, December 13 on ABC.
See the video of First Lady Michelle Obama previewing Holidays at the White House ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/first-lady-previews-holidays-white-house)
Check out the White House December, 2009 photo gallery (http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/photogallery/december-2009-photo-day). Photos, podcasts, videos and live streams are also available at www.whitehouse.gov.
The Associated Press