Check Out the White House’s Holiday Decorations This Year
The White House’s annual display of holiday decorations is the definition of decking the halls. With thousands of lights and ornaments (and plenty of glitter) the place becomes one big sparkling present for the good ol’ USA.
For the past eight years, a local company has worked to decorate the White House for state dinners and other official programs. And last year was the first time Rafanelli Events dreamed up the White House’s winter wonderland. With offices in Boston, New York, and Washington D.C., Rafanelli Events adorned the place with decorations galore for the holidays once again this year.
Bryan Rafanelli, the company’s president and chief creative officer, worked closely with First Lady Michelle Obama to develop this year’s theme: the Gift of the Holidays. The theme is meant to encourage reflection on the joys of giving and receiving, as well as appreciation for friends, family, service, education, and good health during the holiday season. It showcases Lego gingerbread houses, a tree made entirely of garden hoses, a giant present, thousands of colored ribbons, and plenty of swooping garland.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have worked with the White House these last eight years,” says Rafanelli. “Mrs. Obama has been a most extraordinary collaborator and is a visionary. From seven state dinners to the Governors Ball to the Kids State Dinners to the Holiday parties, her eye for details and her desire for inclusiveness set the bar high.”
Rafanelli and the First Lady worked with 32 staff volunteers from the design company’s New York and Boston offices, plus more than 92 volunteers from across the country.
The volunteers decked the halls with…
63 Christmas trees 🎄
More than 1,200 feet of garland 🎁
tens of thousands of lights 💡
and 8,000 bows
With an eye toward sustainability, 90 percent of the design uses repurposed ornaments and embellishments that were already a part of the White House holiday inventory. Ahead, check out some of the decoration highlights.
A giant present at the East Visitor Entrance serves as a backdrop for photos.
The Ground Floor Corridor features “snowball” arches created from more than 6,000 ornaments. Plus, snowmen line the hallway.
Huge replicas of the Obamas’ pet dogs, Bo and Sunny, are made of more than 25,000 yarn pom-poms.
A giant flag installation features images of the First Family with military members, and gold stars hung on the military tree honor the fallen. Beside the flag, there’s a digital interface for guests to send messages to troops.
The Green Room represents the “Gift of Good Health,” inspired by the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign. The room features wreaths made of lemons and garlands made of limes.
Fifty-six Lego gingerbread houses hang on branches of trees throughout the State Dining Room—there’s one for each state and territory. They’re made from more than 200,000 Legos.
A team of seven Lego master builders spent a total of 500 hours designing and building the Lego gingerbread decorations for the State Dining Room.