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Monday, December 3, 2012

Inside the Christmas White House 2012

The hallway on the ground floor of the White House looking towards the East Garden Room, home of faux Bo/Patricia Leslie

The East Wing Visitor Entrance/Patricia Leslie

At the Visitor Entrance (outdoors)/Patricia Leslie

In the lobby upon entering. About 100 volunteers from 50 states spent a week decorating the White House which exudes an immediate and magnificent Fraser Fir fragrance to greet visitors and infuse magic, like when you get off the plane in Hawai'i/Patricia Leslie
The Armed Forces Tree where visitors are invited to sign postcards to troops and indicate the number of hours the signer is willing to commit to community service in honor of the servicemen's and women's commitment to the U.S. The White House holiday theme this year is Joy to All/Patricia Leslie

Looking out the large hallway windows on the ground floor towards "backyard decorations" and the Washington Monument in the distance, with a reflection of greenery lining above framed Christmas photos of the first families/Patricia Leslie

A life-size faux "Bo" with hanging lights and Santa hat guards the portraits of President Calvin Coolidge on the left, and President Grover Cleveland, in the East Garden Room/Patricia Leslie

After the East Garden Room, one comes to a hall on the ground floor with the Vermeil and China rooms on the left, the library on the right, and a cabinet with .../Patricia Leslie
"Part of a State Service first ordered by President John F. Kennedy" and made by Morgantown Glassware Guild, Morgantown, West Virginia in 1961/Patricia Leslie

 And another part of a State Service first ordered by President Andrew Jackson and made by Bakewell, Page & Bakewell, Pittsburgh in 1829/Patricia Leslie

First ladies Patricia Nixon, on the left, and Jacqueline Kennedy preside over the Vermeil Room  Are the gifts under the trees real?/Patricia Leslie

 The book collection in the library across the hall numbers about 2,700 volumes.  Until 1935 when it was renovated, the library was a laundry room and a gentlemen's waiting room, according to a booklet given to Christmas White House visitors/Patricia Leslie

The White House Library/Patricia Leslie

The China Room.  The White House has 54 Christmas trees. President Theodore Roosevelt, an "ardent conservationist," prohibited the cutting of trees for White House Christmases, but his cunning children sneaked one in past their papa, and decorated it with twinkling white lights (and an electrician's help), according to the booklet.  Students from Washington's Duke Ellington School for the Arts created the art for the booklet/Patricia Leslie

After leaving the ground floor and ascending the stairs, a visitor finds herself in the East Room peeking out windows onto Pennsylvania Avenue/Patricia Leslie

The East Room is the location of after-dinner entertainment, and was the scene of the soiree for guests and honorees attending Sunday night's Kennedy Center Honors/Patricia Leslie

From the East Room one glances down the hallway to Cross Hall and the North Entrance (Pennsylvania Avenue) on the right.  The entrance on the left is to the Blue Room and at the end of the hallway is the State Dining Room. More than 90,000 are expected to tour the White House during the holiday season/Patricia Leslie

But back to the East Room.  Whose portrait is behind the tree?/Patricia Leslie

A lighting fixture in the East Room/Patricia Leslie

Part of a tree in the Green Room, the next room on the tour/Patricia Leslie

The Green Room and above the mantle, the oldest publicly displayed portrait in the White House, according to a friendly, erudite White House veteran. ("We don't know what's upstairs, so it may not be the oldest one here.")  David Martin painted Benjamin Franklin in 1767, and 200 years later, Walter Annenberg gave it to the White House in memory of President Kennedy. The silhouette of a man barely visible on the left in the painting is Sir Isaac Newton/Patricia Leslie

"Bed head," a Christmas bird cage, or ? in the Green Room/Patricia Leslie

In the Blue Room, the next one on the tour, is found THE official White House Christmas tree filled with ornaments made by military children stationed with their parents around the world. The Fraser Fir is 18.5 feet tall and came from Jefferson, N.C./Patricia Leslie

 The Red Room (photos below) follows the Blue Room on the tour and next is the State Dining Room, above, anchored by George F. P. Healy's portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.  About 120 persons can be seated here comfortably for dinner, a guide said, and the president and first lady do not sit together/Patricia Leslie
The 300-pound gingerbread house at the north end of the State Dining Room.  Note the table legs.  Behind these doors is the Family Dining Room, closed to visitors/Patricia Leslie

From the State Dining Room is the Red Room with the Blue Room on the other side/Patricia Leslie

In Cross Hall at the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance /Patricia Leslie

The Red Room from the Entrance Hall.  Normally, Dolley Madison reigns over the Red Room, however, her portrait is on loan to the National Portrait Gallery until late winter, a guide said/Patricia Leslie

One of many first lady ornaments which decorate the four first ladies trees at the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance. More than 60 percent of the White House ornaments have been "re-purposed" or recycled/Patricia Leslie

One of the state ornaments hanging at the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance/Patricia Leslie
In the Entrance Hall with a tree reflected in the mirror/Patricia Leslie

The reflected tree and out the window is Pennsylvania Avenue/Patricia Leslie

It was World AIDS Day (and Night)/Patricia Leslie

Not to be overlooked next door is the gracious and imposing David Eisenhower Executive Office Building/Patricia Leslie

For a look at last year's White House decorations, click here.

Feliz Navidad!

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