Shine, Give, Share
Our theme for this 2011 holiday season is “Shine, Give, Share,” which offers an opportunity to pay tribute to our troops, veterans, and their families throughout the White House. This year, the official tour features 37 Christmas trees, 30 are natural trees and 7 are made from paper, felt or aluminum; a gingerbread model of the White House made of 400 pounds of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan plus 5 different representations of First Dog Bo Obama. Volunteers from 36 states plus the District of Columbia worked for days to get everything ready.
The centerpiece of the Blue Room is the official White House Christmas tree–a breathtaking 18-foot-6-inch balsam fir from Neshkoro, Wisconsin–which honors our men and women in uniform and features holiday cards created by military children. Collected from United States military installations around the world, these thoughtful and poignant cards celebrate their parents serving in uniform. Medals, badges, and patches from all of the military branches are displayed on ornaments, historic military images are displayed with volunteer-made pinecone frames and ribbons inspired by the Armed Forces colors represent the brave women and men who protect our Nation and defend our freedom.
Share a holiday message with our troops:
Gold Star Tree
The Gold Star Families Tree pays tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our Nation and to the families who continue to carry their proud legacy forward. Photos of these fallen heroes and messages from their loved ones honor their courageous service, and remind us of the great sacrifices made for our freedom. Visitors can write notes to service members showing their thanks and visiting Gold Star Families will have the opportunity to inscribe a ceramic gold star with a personalized note to decorate the tree. Honoring Gold Star Families in this fashion was the First Lady’s idea, and the tree was decorated by Gold Star families who volunteered their time this holiday season.
Deck the Halls with Bo Obama
This year the White House Holiday dÃ©cor includes a bounty of Bos! The tour route features 5 Bo topiaries made from various materials like felt (35 yards of wool feltÂ used), buttons (318 buttonsÂ in total), pom poms (750 pom pomsÂ used), candy (12 marshmallows, 1911 pieces of licorice), and even trash bags (6,850 feetÂ worth)! Including Bo ornaments and other small Bos, you can find Bo in almost every room!
Behind-the-Scenes Look: Time-Lapse of Holidays at the White House
In 2011, more than 400 volunteers came together to help decorate the White House and assist with celebrations, and more than 85,000 guests are expected to visit the White House during the holiday season. Get a behind the scenes look at all the action courtesy of the White House Photo Office!
Shine, Give, Share: Honoring Military Families for the Holidays
This holiday season, we’re thanking servicemembers and their families for all the sacrifices they make for our country. Go inside the White House and the Naval Observatory, the official residence of the Vice President, for a look at how the troops are being honored for their service.