Jill Biden Reveals White House Holiday Decorations: 41 Trees, 78,750 Lights and 'Gifts from the Heart'
First Lady Jill Biden and a team of over 100 volunteers have been hard at work decking the halls of the White House for the holidays with 41 Christmas trees and 25 wreaths, 6,000 feet of ribbon, more than 300 candles, 10,000 ornaments and 78,750 lights.
The decorations — which will be revealed Monday at an event honoring National Guard service members and their families — are all part of this year's theme: "Gifts from the Heart."
In a letter to welcome visitors to the White House during the holiday season, Dr. Biden and her husband, President Joe Biden elaborated on the message behind the twinkling lights and colorful ornaments that hang from dozens of trees.
"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," the couple wrote in a commemorative visitors' guide. "These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives. These are the Gifts from the Heart."
Decorations in various rooms of the White House will represent each of these gifts.
For example, the "gift of service" will be on display in the East Wing, which includes the Office of the First Lady.
"Throughout the East Colonnade, iridescent doves and shooting stars illuminate the hallway, representing the peace and light brought to us all by the service of frontline workers and first responders during the pandemic," according to the 2021 tour guidebook.
In addition, the Gold Star Tree set up on the East Landing "honors the heroic women and men of our Nation's military, who have laid down their lives for our country, and the families who carry on their legacies."
In the State Dining Room, the Bidens' stockings are hung by the fireplace as part of the celebration of the "gift of family — those we are born into, those we choose, and those we create." According to a press pool report, the stockings include the Biden grandkids' names: Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Hunt and Baby.
The trees in that room are decorated with photos of first families who've lived in the White House throughout history.
"Each family who made this house a home reminds us all of the enduring love and lasting bonds of family," according to the book.
This is also where the official White House Gingerbread House is located.
"This year's gingerbread display is inspired by our gratitude and admiration for our Nation's frontline workers who kept our country running through the global pandemic, often at great risk to themselves and their families," reads the book.
"The display includes eight detailed replicas of community buildings representing frontline workers. To complete the finishing touches, 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."
One of the final decorative touches made to the gingerbread house was added at the request of Dr. Biden, a longtime educator: a gingerbread school teacher next to the school house.
Read more about the decorations in the various rooms of the White House in a digital copy of the 2021 holiday tour book.
"As we celebrate our first holiday season in the White House, we are inspired by the Americans we have met across the country, time and again reminding us that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite," the First Lady and President continued in their letter. "We wish you a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season. As we look to a new year full of possibility, may gifts from the heart light our path forward."
Though the White House decorations are a much larger seasonal project than those undertaken by Americans at home, the Bidens did run into one issue that's all-too-familiar these days: due to issues with the supply chain, Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo told pool reporters Monday that "there were some items that were backed up," including some of the topiaries featured as part of the display.