Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas in Full Gear at the White House

With Christmas just a little more than a week away, our elected officials in Washington are scrambling to wrap things up and get out of town. Sadly, more than a few of them will be coming back in January. At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, however, the holiday spirit lingers in the air, for regardless of what party holds power, the White House has long been ground zero for our nation's Christmas celebration. This year's theme is "A Winter Wonderland," which attempts to capture the magic of the holidays through the eyes of its youngest citizens.

First Lady Michelle Obama kicked things off on Wednesday, December 3, with preview event that included some last-minute decorating and cookie-making by area children and their families. The First Lady truly shines in settings such as this, and I enjoyed listening to her describe the hard work involved in preparing the White House for the 65,000 guests expected to visit during the holidays:

The following evening, the First Family officiated at the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The video below opens with the actual tree-lighting, followed by an unspeakably grim recitation of A Visit from St. Nicholas (starting at 0:44) and (beginning at 4:05) some appropriate remarks from the President:

Late last week, the 2014 White House holiday card was officially unveiled. Designed by Connecticut artist Emily Buchanan, it features a view of the White House foyer, with first dogs Bo and Sunny patiently standing by:

2014 White House Holiday Card

I can't say I'm wild about this picture myself. It strikes me as cold, formal and austere.  (I much prefer the Obamas' card from 2011.) I do like the idea of including the dogs, however; and I like how the floor seems to slope downward toward the viewer like one of those two-dimensional depictions of the space-time continuum. (Perhaps there's a hidden meaning of some sort buried in this year's card? Damn the illuminati and their subtlety!)

For more information about this year's holiday-related activities at the White House, check out the Inside the White House Holidays 2014 web page, where you'll find downloadable do-it-yourself crafts, the 2014 Holiday Tour Book, and even the White House recipe for gingerbread cookies!

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