How the White House got me into the Christmas spirit early this year
Supercreator was invited to preview the holiday decor ahead of the 50,000 visitors the White House expects to welcome during the season — and to say it was a sight to behold is an understatement.
Hi, hey, hello! Welcome back to Supercreator, your twice-weekly guide to the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping how online creators work and live in the new economy. This is the first issue under the new cadence I wrote about before Thanksgiving, albeit a day tardy, due to some gnarly travel hiccups that had me all out of sorts.
Featured in this issue: Updates on the negotiations to both avoid a government shutdown and avert a rail strike, the first state visit hosted by the Biden administration, Brittney Griner, the Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the election of a new generation of House Democratic leadership, the passing of a beloved member of Congress and the president’s reaction to the US’s World Cup victory yesterday.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
It’s usually not until I visit the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City that I start to feel the Christmas spirit, but this year the mood arrived early after I visited the White House early Monday morning to preview the holiday decor ahead of the 50,000 visitors it expects to welcome during the season.
The theme this year is “We the People,” a reminder that Americans are stronger in community than we are apart. The White House began planning for the holiday during the spring months with Dr. Biden choosing the theme and inspiration for the decorations by mid-year, according to the first lady’s office.
“All of this would not be possible without your hard work. You gave up time with your family this holiday weekend. Many of you traveled from far away to be here. And you’ve worked long hours in service of this gift,” the first lady said during remarks in the East Room where the 150 volunteers — including Dr. Biden’s sister — and several National Guard families listened as she shared her message for the season. “Now, some of you may have a little glue gun residue on your fingers, or sore backs from hanging up all that snow in the colonnade. Yesterday, you might have thought, ‘If I have to tie just one more bow, I’m outta here!; But, I also hope you’ve made some life-long friends here and felt the unique joy that only comes from the chaos of the holidays! With all my heart, thank you for everything you’ve done.”
There are 77 Christmas trees throughout the White House and more than 83,615 holiday lights that decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths and displays in the White House. The north and south facades of the White House are decked out with 25 classic wreaths. And the Gingerbread White House includes 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30 sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate and 40 pounds of royal icing. This year’s decor also features a new edition: A menorah created by the Executive Residence Carpentry Shop. The menorah was constructed using wood that was removed circa 1950 during a Truman-era renovation, and is located in the Cross Hall.
I spent most of the hour reporters had to preview the decorations listening to the live music and flicking one-by-one through the ornaments on the trees in the State Dining Room, crafted as self-portraits by the students of the 2021 Teachers of the Year from across the country. The first lady’s office said the goal for the decor was to ensure that children see themselves in this year’s holiday display. Mission accomplished if you ask me.