December 2, 2005
Happy Holidays, and thanks for having me. The White House is always a busy place, but it is especially so this month, when the President and Mrs. Bush
will be hosting 24 events over the next three weeks, and personally welcoming over 9500 people to the White House. In addition, 44,000 people will
tour the White House to view the decorations of the season. Mrs. Bush and the White House staff have been planning Christmas events since April, and
we are all looking forward to this joyous time of year.
Cliff, from Brimfield, Ohio
Assistant Berman: How long does it take to decorate the White House for
Christmas? Do you have volunteers that help with all the details? I saw
the First Lady showing some of the stuff on TV. It looks like a real
challenge to get it all done. Does the First Lady or the President pick
the theme? Thank You (PS: Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)
Happy Christmas to you, Cliff. It takes three days of intensive effort to decorate the White House. A small army of volunteers converge under the direction of White House florist Nancy Clarke, many of them skilled professional florists, to transform the White House for the holidays. Mrs. Bush selects the theme each Christmas. This year the theme is All Things Bright and Beautiful, which is a line from a hymn by Cecil Alexander. She is an avid gardener, so it is appropriate that she would choose a theme that highlights the beauty to be found in nature. Our decorations this year are made of fresh flowers, fruits and greens to reflect the natural beauty of nature.
Courtney, from Indiana writes:
When did the Whitehouse gingerbread tradition begin, and by whom?
The White House gingerbread house tradition began during the Nixon Administration and it has been continued by the White House pastry chefs ever since then. Thaddeus Dubois, our current pastry chef, did an amazing job of capturing every tiny architectural detail of the White House on this years house, as well as including the family pets on the front lawn. This years gingerbread house was also unusual because it features the North Portico of the White House, rather than the South Portico, which it what has traditionally been depicted. It is an amazing piece of workmanship in all its fine detail.
claire, from new york, ny
What will become of the White House gingerbread house? WIll it be
donated or something? To whom? Thanks--
Sadly, the beautiful gingerbread house cannot be preserved past the holidays. It is made of sugar and other edible materials that dont stand the test of time. Thats why we take lots of pictures of each gingerbread house, and appreciate it so much while we do have it.
Mike, from Page, AZ writes:
When I used to live in the DC area, every year I would make a special
trip downtown and buy an official White House Christmas ornament for my
Christmas tree. Are these available to purchase online? Thanks, Mike
The official White House ornaments are available online at the White House Historical Association website at www.whitehousehistory.org. They make a wonderful Christmas gift, and proceeds from the sale of the ornaments are used to maintain the White House and to purchase special items for the White House collections.
Gina, from DC writes:
When will the National Christmas tree be lit?
The National Christmas Tree is always lit in early December as part of the Pageant of Peace program on the Ellipse behind the White House. The President and Mrs. Bush attend each year and enjoy the tree lighting and entertainment provided by nationally-known entertainers. It is the official beginning of the holiday season at the White House.
The President and Mrs. Bush lit the National Tree on Thursday, December 1st. Click here to see the photos, watch the video, and read the President's remarks.
Debra, from Alpharetta, GA
HelloWhat will the official White House Christmas card for 2005 look
The card this year was painted by noted American artist Jamie Wyeth. It is a beautiful rendering of the South Portico of the White House, flanked by the Jackson magnolia, under a blanket of snow. The President and Mrs. Bushs pets, Barney and Miss Beazley, two Scottish terriers, and India the cat, are pictured in the foreground, frolicking on the South Lawn. It is a welcoming winter scene.
Daryl, from Washington, DC
Hello Ms. Berman,
I was wondering, with all of the holiday activity going on at The White
House, what are Barney and Miss Beasly's favorite holiday activities? Thank you Daryl
Barney and Miss Beazley are pretty skilled with a soccer ball they really know how to charge the ball and have a great time doing it through out the year. But Im sure they are hoping for a white Christmas because theres nothing they like better than playing in the snow.
Christine, from St. Marys, Ohio
Will there be a Christmas "program" this year with President and the
first lady giving the televison "cameras" a guided tour??? We really
enjoyed it this year and if there will be a Christmas special like this,
I certainly do NOT want to miss it
I would appreciate a reply and have a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New
Christine Smith St. Marys, OH
There is not a television program hosted by the President and the First Lady this year, Christine, but each year HGTV produces a special on Christmas at the White House, which begins airing on December 7th. I hope you have a chance to see how beautiful the White House really is!
Thank you for sending along your questions about holiday at the White House. From all the staff here at the Residence, we wish you a joyous holiday
season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.