POTUS and FLOTUS we’re not, but guess what? Everyone (as long as you can pass a security check) is welcome to enter the doors of the most famous address in the United States: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Join us for a quick Christmas tour of “The People’s House.”
At the East Visitor Entrance, visitors walk through a ten foot tall, gift-shaped pergola and are greeted by wooly representations of the First Dogs, Bo and Sunny.
The China Room contains decades of presidential china services chosen by First Ladies. That’s Grace Coolidge in the portrait on the back wall.
Greens, bows, and bells festoon the doorways leading into the East Room. I think I’ll try this at my house. Or not.
The Green Room evokes summer’s warmth with a garden of citrus colors, fruit and vegetables. I loved the shimmering gold bees in the room’s garlands! Some famous furnishings in this room.
What better room to decorate for Christmas than the – wait for it – Red Room, with walls cloaked in crimson twill satin? Note the arrangements of oranges, apples, pomegranates, and of course, cranberries.
The State Dining room celebrates the gift of families gathering together. The wreath is made of gumdrops and sweet treats, and the famous White House Gingerbread House is made of 150 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of bread dough, 20 pounds of gum paste, 20 pounds of icing, and 20 pounds of sculpted sugar. This would be Libby’s favorite room!
The Blue Room hosts a tree ornamented with the First Family’s own design. This year’s tree celebrates “We the People,” and is trimmed with ribbon garlands featuring the iconic words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The ornaments feature images of American families, farmers, and service members.
Wherever you walk in the White House, familiar faces are watching you.
And sometimes you are watching them right back.
Another view of the State Dining Room, which can seat 140 guests at dinners and luncheons. Carved into the fireplace mantel is a quotation from a letter by John Adams: “I Pray Heaven to Bestow the Best of Blessings on THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and Wise Men ever rule under this Roof.” Amen! (And knowing something about Abigail, John might have amended his prayer to include women, too.)
The White House Library! This is where I would hang out if I were Michelle. It’s decorated as a reminder of the importance of the gift of an education with a child’s school supplies: pencils, crayons, and paper note cards create unique topiaries with chalkboard pedestals. In the ornaments, the word “girls” is spelled in many languages to recognize the millions of adolescent women around the world who are not in school. (www.ReachHigher.gov). The library contains volumes of history, biography, fiction, and the sciences, all by American authors.
Standing beneath the presidential seal are dear friends who toured The People’s House with us. (Joyce and Marlene, can we recreate this look at the next women’s event at church?)
But it was a display in the East Room that drew our attention more than all the bells, baubles and bows. The White House crèche takes its customary place center stage each year in the President’s home. This late 18th century display was crafted in Naples, Italy, from terra cotta and wood and contains nearly 50 individual pieces. It’s been displayed here every year since 1967!
As this representation of Christ’s birth is the centerpiece of the East Room, so too may the Christ of Christmas remain center stage in our hearts this season.
God bless us, everyone!