Jill Biden on Monday unveiled a holiday theme close to the heart, tying together her love of learning with the challenges the country faced during the coronavirus pandemic and paying tribute to the former families that lived in the White House.
‘Gifts from the Heart’ will be the theme for the 2021 White House Holiday Season, the first lady revealed.
Inspiration for the theme came from the ‘small acts of kindness and experiences that lifted our spirits this year and throughout the pandemic,’ the East Wing said in a statement.
Over 100 volunteers decorated the state rooms of the White House over the past week with adornments tied to the theme, including stacks of books, floating candles, and Christmas Tree decorations featuring photographs of previous first families.
Decorating the 55,000 square foot White House involved 41 Christmas Trees, 6,000 feet of ribbon, more than 300 candles and over 10,000 ornaments.
Even the famous Gingerbread White House – which is on display in the State Dining Room – was inspired by the ‘gratitude and admiration for our Nation’s frontline workers who kept our country running through the global pandemic,’ the East Wing said in a release on the holiday decorations.
The Blue Room’s main Christmas tree was decorated with peace doves and ribbons listing all 50 states
The White House’s gingerbread display honors frontline workers
Surrounding the White House: a hospital, a fire station, a police station, a gas station, a grocvery store, a school – complete with a gingerbread school teacher – a post office and a warehouse
A giant bow and gift boxes greet visitors arriving to the White House’s East Wing this holiday season
Biden family photos, including one with late son Beau (left) and one of first dogs Champ, who passed away in June, and Major (right), adorn a tree in the State Dining Room
The East Colonnade is dedicated to gifts of service
In China Room, FLOTUS set table ‘nana style’ with Obama china, flowers and candles. Wreaths are made of intertwining hands
The Vermeil Room is dedicated to visual arts and inspired by this Alma Thomas painting
Paint brushes were used in the decorations in the Vermeil Room
Decorations in East Room include thank you cards and notes
Giant thank you cards are on display in the White House East Room
Thank you cards on one of the trees in the White House’s East Room
A card written to President Joe Biden from a child that is on display in the White House East Room
2021 White House Holiday Decorations by the numbers
There are 41 Christmas trees throughout the White House.
Approximately 6,000 feet of ribbon, over 300 candles, and over 10,000 ornaments were used this year to decorate the White House.
Over 78,750 holiday lights decorate the Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths, and displays in the White House.
Twenty-five classic wreaths adorn the north and south facades of the White House.
It takes over 100 dedicated volunteers working a full week to decorate the inside and outside of the White House.
The Gingerbread White House is made of 55 sheets of baked gingerbread, 120 pounds of pastillage, 35 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of royal icing.
Source: The White House
This year’s ginger display includes eight detailed replicas of community buildings representing frontline workers.
Biden will formally unveil the decorated White House on Monday afternoon, where she will be accompanied by a local National Guard family and a class of second graders from Maryland.
Captain Maryanne Harrell; husband Levi; and their three children, Levi II, Marcus, and Elliana joined the first lady. The Harrell family was also at the White House last week when the official White House Christmas Tree arrived.
Biden also invited Elliana’s 2nd grade class from Malcolm Elementary School in Waldorf, Maryland to come to the White House to help her reveal th 2021 decorations.
The first lady will also thank the more than 100 volunteers who decorated the White House and offer a message of ‘unity and gratitude,’ according to her office.
The Bidens, who are spending their first holiday season in the White House as president and first lady, said they wanted the holiday decor to focus on ‘faith, family and friendship’ – which transcended even the ‘contraints’ of the COVID pandemic.
‘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. These are the Gifts from the Heart,’ Jill Biden and President Joe Biden wrote in a welcome letter at the beginning of the commemorative 2021 White House Holiday Guide.
Public tours of the White House remain suspended due to COVID, but videos, photos and details about the Christmas decorations are available at WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays.
Throughout the holiday season, the White House will also provide interactive viewing experiences via Instagram, Google Maps Street View, Snapchat and other platforms, the East Wing said.
The Crosshall is dedicated to gifts of faith
FLOTUS wanted this replica of the stained glass window at Camp David included
Peace dove cookies were being handed out to reporters touring the decorations Monday morning
This year, each state room or wing of the White House has its own theme tying to the overall ‘Gifts from the Heart’ theme. The 10 areas inside the executive mansion have unique decorations tied to its subject.
The East Wing of the White House, where the first lady’s offices are based, is dedicated to frontline workers and first responders in a ‘Gift of Service.’
Throughout the East Colonnade are iridescent doves and shooting stars to illuminate the hallway, representing the peace and light the workers gave during the coronavirus pandemic.
Poinsettias topiaries opposite the windows to the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden.
In the East Landing is the Gold Star Tree, which honors the men and women in the military who have died in service to the country and their families.
In the library, Biden, a professor of English at a Northern Virginia Community College, gave it the ‘Gift of Learning’ to honor educators for finding new ways to connect and teach during the pandemic.
The White House Library holds approximately 2,700 volumes of books, focusing primarily on American history and literature.
The holiday decor include stacks of books as well as butterflies and birds made of recycled paper to remind Americans ‘with the Gift of Learning, we can soar to places we never imagined and rise to meet any challenge,’ the East Wing said.
The Vermeil Room celebrates the ‘Gift of the Visual Arts’ and is decorated with paint brushes and paint swatches, representing American artists.
The China Room, which holds the tableware used by past presidential families, celebrates ‘The Gift of Friendship and Sharing.’
Gifts from the Heart theme throughout the White House
The state rooms in the White House are decorated in a unique theme to reflect the overall themee of ‘Gifts from the Heart.’ Those additional themes are:
• The Arts
Source: The White House
‘This holiday, as we gather hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart around the dinner table, we hope the China Room inspires us all to share healing laughs, comforting meals, and warm memories with loved ones,’ the East Wing noted in its description of the decorations.
Christmas trees fill every state room of the mansion and the ones in the China room have garlands in the form of intertwined hands symbolizing friendship, fellowship, and merriment.
In the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall of the main floor of the White House are floating candles as part of the ‘Gift of Faith and Community’ theme.
The hallway alcoves and tree displays depict wintry scenes of life within American towns and cities.
The East Room celebrates the ‘Gift of Gratitude,’ which is being symbolized by small acts of kindess and handwritten notes.
The East Room, the largest public reception room of the White House, also holds the Neapolitan crèche of the manager scene, with over 40 figurines from the eighteenth century, It has been displayed here every holiday season since 1967.
The Green Room honors ‘Gift of Nature’ and its decorations include purple trees accented with natural orchids.
The Blue Room features the Official White House Christmas Tree and has a theme of the ‘Gift of Peace and Unity.’
Cascading down the tree are peace doves carrying a shimmering banner embossed with the names of each state and territory of the United States.
This year’s tree is an 18 ½ foot Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina. The tradition of a White House Christmas Tree began during the Eisenhower administration.
Jill Biden welcomed the White House Christmas tree last week
The Red Room honors the ‘Gift of the Performing Arts.’ The decorations include brass instruments hanging from the mantel along with ballet slippers, tap shoes, and musical notes.
Also in the Red Room, two cranberry topiaries are on display, a tradition which began in 1975.
The State Dining Room celebrates the ‘Gift of Family.’
The Biden family stockings are hanging on the fireplace that holds the inscription known as the White House blessing: ‘I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.’
It was taken from a letter written by President John Adams to his wife, Abigail, dated November 2, 1800.
The Christmas Trees in the State Dining Room contain ornaments featuring photographs of first families, past and present.
The room also contains the famous Gingerbread White House.
The White House pastry team used 55 sheets of baked gingerbread, 120 pounds of pastillage, 35 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of royal icing.