Obamas Prepare for Their Final White House Christmas
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President Barack Obama and his family will celebrate their eighth and final Christmas in the White House next month.
On Tuesday, White House staff and first lady Michelle Obama revealed this year’s holiday decorations.
They include nearly 70,000 ornaments, 63 Christmas trees, 56 gingerbread houses, and two very large statues of the Obama family’s dogs, Sunny and Bo.
An estimated 68,000 people will visit the White House during the holiday season. There is no cost to enter.
But, the very first people to see this year’s decorations were military members and their families. Michelle Obama welcomed them to the White House Tuesday.
The first lady said the gold ornaments on the official White House Christmas tree honor military heroes. The Christmas tree is almost six meters tall and stands in the Blue Room.
This year’s theme is “The Gift of the Holidays.” Many of the decorations represent important gifts in America, including the “gift of a great education,” Michelle Obama said.
In the White House Library, another Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments that honor girls. The word “Girls” is printed in a different language on each ornament.
A program called Let Girls Learn has been a major effort of Michelle Obama’s. It aims to help girls and young women around the world get a quality education.
Another “gift” is the gift of good health. A tree in the White House Green Room is hung with fruit grown in the White House Garden. Healthful eating and exercise have also been important issues during Obama’s eight years as first lady.
Most of the ornaments and other decorations were reused, the White House said. Just 10 percent were new.
More than 90 volunteers worked on the decorations. On Tuesday, the first lady thanked the volunteer decorators.
“We can’t wait to start welcoming people into their White House this holiday season. To everyone who created these stunning displays…. I want to once again say thank you. You all did a phenomenal job of turning this house into a magical place.”
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Ashley Thompson adapted this report from the Associated Press, with additional materials from WhiteHouse.gov. Caty Weaver was the editor.