White House holiday decor pays tribute to COVID-19 frontline workers


WASHINGTON – The holiday decorations unveiled Monday for Joe and Jill Biden’s first Christmas at the White House honor frontline workers who have persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurses, doctors, teachers, grocery workers and more are recognized in this year’s gigantic Gingerbread White House, which this year has been transformed into a 350-pound (158.76 kilograms) gingerbread village. ) with the addition of a school and police, firefighters and gas stations as well as a hospital, post office, grocery store and warehouse to honor workers who stayed on the job.

Fewer people are likely to see the decorated mansion in person this year, with public tours still suspended due to the continuing threat of COVID-19. But videos, photos and other details of the decorations can be viewed at WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays.

“Gifts from the Heart” is the theme.

“The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family and friendship; love of the arts, learning and nature; gratitude, service and community; unity and peace, ”President Biden and his wife, Jill, say in a 2021 White House vacation commemorative guide.“ These are the gifts that bind the ropes of the heart of our lives. These are the gifts of the heart. “

Longtime community college teacher First Lady Jill Biden on Monday afternoon invited Maryland sophomores to help her unveil decorations that match the theme, which are said to be inspired by people the couple has. encountered on a trip across the country this year.

Frontline workers are also pictured in the iridescent doves and shooting stars that light up the east colonnade corridor, “representing the peace and light that all frontline workers and first responders bring to us during the pandemic,” indicates the White House guide.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting White House vacations in other ways.

It was not clear how the White House would handle parties and receptions.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there would be parties, only that they would be “different” from those in previous years. An indication will come on Wednesday when President and First Lady and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff light a menorah to celebrate Chanukah. Emhoff, who is Jewish, helped light the National Menorah on the Ellipse Sunday.

The volunteers who decorate the White House have only come from the surrounding area this year, instead of all over the United States as in previous years due to concerns over COVID-19.

The White House was also not immune to the supply issues that many Americans face. Some topiary trees took a bit longer to arrive, said social secretary Carlos Elizondo.

The other highlight of the White House vacation is the official Christmas tree, a 5.5-meter tall Fraser tree that commands the Blue Room and is trimmed with white doves and a ribbon with everyone’s names on it. US states and territories to celebrate peace and unity.

More than 100 volunteers decorated the White House, including the Oval Office, while the Bidens spent Thanksgiving week in Nantucket, Massachusetts. They pruned 41 Christmas trees and hung some 6,000 feet (2,000 yards) of ribbon and more than 10,000 ornaments.

Twenty-five wreaths adorn the exterior of the White House and nearly 79,000 lights illuminate Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths and other holiday displays.

Christmas stockings for each of Biden’s grandchildren – Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Hunter, and baby Beau – hang from the mantle of the fireplace in the State Dining Room, which celebrates the family, while the This stately room’s trees are decorated with framed Biden family photos and photos of other early families during the holiday season.

The decorations are the product of months of work by the first lady and her team in the east wing of the White House since June.

A sophomore class from Malcolm Elementary School in Waldorf, Md., Will help Jill Biden reveal the decorations later Monday. PBS KIDS characters Martin and Chris Kratt from the “Wild Kratts” program will also be in attendance.

Prior to a PBS student puppet show, the First Lady will read her 2012 children’s book, “Remember, God Bless Our Troops,” and deliver remarks.

She also invited a local National Guard family to highlight the role the Guard played in the U.S. response to COVID-19, and military families spending the holidays away from loved ones.

“As we celebrate our first holiday season at the White House, we are inspired by the Americans we have met across the country, reminding us time and time again that our differences are precious and our similarities are endless,” the Bidens wrote. . “We wish you a happy holiday season. As we look forward to a new year full of possibilities, may the gifts of the heart light our way to the future.”

Various interactive viewing experiences are yet to come on Instagram, Google Maps, Street View, Snapchat and other platforms, the White House said.


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