First Lady Michelle Obama and military children decorated Christmas cookie ornaments, made tissue-paper flowers and used dried fruit to make tiny wreaths into the State Dining Room at the White House.
Two life-sized replicas of the Obamas’ Portuguese water dogs – Bo and his little sister Sunny – made from black satin ribbon, are one of the first things people will see this month as an expected 70,000 visitors stream in to the White House for tours and holiday functions. Both dogs wag their tails and Bo gives a high-five. They are surrounded by Christmas trees made of books.
Sunny and Bo, dark chocolate miniature versions, are also part of the annual gingerbread White House display. Both dogs hang out near a functioning replica of the fountain on the North Lawn. The illuminated, edible White House sits on top of a life-sized fireplace fashioned from more than 1,200 Springerle cookies. The entire display weighs about 300 pounds and is trashed after the holidays due to its prolonged exposure to so many people.
Michelle Obama, who has emphasized support for military families, gave some of them a first look at the decked-out White House halls on Wednesday. She asked Americans gathering with friends and family for the holidays to also remember the men and women in uniform.
“During this holiday season, as we gather with our loved ones, I’d ask every American to remember what our military families and service members often experience during this time of year,” Michelle Obama said.
“Let us all remember the sacrifices they make to proudly serve all of us.”
An annual highlight of the decorations is the official White House Christmas Tree. This year it’s a towering 18 ½-foot Douglas fir from Lehighton, Pennsylvania, that fills the oval-shaped Blue Room. It honors military families, a holiday tradition of Michelle Obama’s, and among its trimmings are photos of their joyous homecomings.
This year’s White House Christmas theme is “Gather Around: Stories of the Season” and is focused on stories behind American holiday traditions.
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