President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden wrote that “Gifts from the Heart” such as faith, family, friendship, and unity “tie together the heart strings of our lives.”
“The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, and nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace. These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives. These are the Gifts from the Heart,” President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wrote in a welcome letter at the beginning of the commemorative 2021 White House Holiday Guide.
“As we celebrate our first holiday season in the White House, we are inspired by the Americans we have met across the country, time and again reminding us that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite,” they wrote.
The letter continued: “We wish you a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season. As we look to a new year full of possibility, may gifts from the heart light our path forward.”
Over 6,000 feet of ribbon, 300 candles, 10,000 ornaments, and 78,750 holiday lights were used to decorate the White House.
During the unveiling Monday, the US Marine Band played holiday music as stars were projected on the ceiling.
There are a total of 41 Christmas trees throughout the White House.
One of these trees is located in the Red Room.
The official White House Christmas tree sits in the Blue Room.
The tree is decorated with doves carrying a banner with the names of every US state and territory.
In the East Colonnade, clear blue circles line the windows and glowing stars hang from the ceiling.
The windows look out to the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden.
Cutouts of doves hang amid the window decorations.
The doves and shooting stars represent “peace and light brought to us all by the service of frontline workers and first responders during the pandemic,” according to the White House Holiday Guide.
The East Landing’s Gold Star Tree honors fallen members of the US military.
The gold star ornaments feature the names and ranks of the fallen soldiers, as well as their dates of death.
The Library is decorated with butterflies and birds made of recycled newspapers, as well as ribbons reading “Hope,” “Kindness,” and “Joy.”
The Library decorations are dedicated to educators who “found ways to connect with students in new and innovative ways, pushing through the challenges of the pandemic,” according to the White House Holiday Guide.
Paintbrush wreaths in the Vermeil Room “celebrate the Gift of Visual Arts,” according to the White House Holiday Guide.
The Vermeil Room contains portraits of first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Lou Henry Hoover.
A wreath hangs from the back of each chair in the China Room.
The China Room displays tableware and china sets used by past presidential families.
Upon closer inspection, the wreaths feature stars comprised of interlocking hands.
“This holiday, as you gather hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart around the dinner table, we hope the China Room inspires you to share healing laughs, comforting meals, and warm memories with loved ones, extending the Gift of Friendship and Sharing,” the White House Holiday Guide reads.
The China Room table is set with the Obama state china.
In 2015, former first lady Michelle Obama chose an ocean-inspired “Kailua Blue” color for their state china as a nod to former President Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii.
The East Room decor centers around the theme of gratitude.
The East Room is the largest room in the White House, often hosting public receptions and ceremonies.
Letters and thank-you notes sent to Biden hang among the ornaments.
“Dear President Biden,” one letter reads, “I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers continually.”
Notes and drawings from young writers have also been included.
One of the cards features a drawing of Biden (“age 78”) alongside an American flag.
Christmas trees in the State Dining Room feature photos of the Bidens, as well as past presidential families.
A photo of the Bidens hangs next to one of the Obamas.
Former presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt are pictured with their families.
FDR is pictured holding his grandchildren in the 1930s.
Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump are also included in the photo collection.
The Trumps are pictured welcoming the White House Christmas tree.
The main attraction in the State Dining Room is the official 2021 Gingerbread White House, created by White House pastry chef Susan Morrison.
Morrison, who is the first female White House pastry chef, built the gingerbread White House with 55 sheets of baked gingerbread, 120 pounds of pastillage, 35 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of royal icing.
The gingerbread buildings on either side of the White House honor frontline and essential workers.
The display features a gingerbread hospital, police station, fire station, gas station, school, post office, and grocery store.
Finally, the Grand Foyer and the Cross Hall decorations center around the “Gift of Faith and Community.”
“The hallway alcoves and tree displays depict wintry scenes of life within our towns and cities, reflecting the solace of faith, the lasting bonds of community, and the perseverance of the American spirit,” the White House Holiday Guide reads.