This year, a nostalgic throwback to childhood ties nearly all the rooms together.
You’ll feel like a kid all over again in the best way possible with the White House’s 2023 holiday theme “Magic, Wonder, and Joy.” It was “designed to capture the pure, unfiltered delight and imagination of childhood.” First Lady Jill Biden unveiled all the spectacular decor right after Thanksgiving and we’re in awe. Not only is everything incredibly well done (and stunning!), the sheer numbers behind this display are kind of mindblowing. 300 volunteers work over the course of a week to deck out the White House with 98 Christmas trees, 33,892 ornaments, and over 142,425 holiday lights. All of this will be viewed by about 100,000 visitors over the holidays.
We were so delighted by all the thoughtful details, we took a few notes of some of our favorite spaces, so if you’re wondering how you can capture the essence of childhood during the holiday season in your own home, read on for tips.
The candycore trend is in full force in the East Wing of the White House, and it’s very fitting for this year’s theme—sweet treats are one of the highlights of most childhoods, especially during the holidays. Oversized candy-themed ornaments hang from the ceiling of the hallway between the East Wing and the Residence. While this might be ambitious to do in your own home, you can still embrace this theme and decorate your tree with “candy” ornaments, set out multiple jars with colorful sweets, or in an abstract interpretation of the theme, stick to a pastel color scheme for your decor.
Ground Floor Corridor
The Ground Floor Corridor of the White House displays a sampling of editions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas from the last 200 years, which has been a staple story in most childhoods. Also featured in the corridor: Lots of letters—some are holiday messages from citizens across the country to the President and First Lady, and others are letters to Santa Claus “flying” in and out of vintage mail boxes. Vintage goods are very in vogue right now for holiday decor, and we love the idea of setting up a mini mailbox designated for letters to Santa! There are lots of very cute used and new options available on Etsy.
The White House Library is decorated to honor the tradition and magic of bedtime stories, with treasured holiday children’s books set up throughout. There’s also a flying Santa outside the window, and while that’s pretty hard to recreate in real life, we love the idea of decorating with pretty holiday books and a Christmas tree in the bedroom. It can even be a mini, tabletop version!
The Gingerbread White House
This impressive gingerbread version of the White House required 40 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 40 sheets of gingerbread dough, 90 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate, and 50 pounds of royal icing. Nothing says the holidays quite like a gingerbread house, and fortunately, if you decide to make one, you won’t need anywhere near as many ingredients. (We hope!) To really amp up the holiday vibes of your home, we love the idea of building a gingerbread house from scratch, but if you’re not a crafty cook, that’s okay—Target makes $4 gingerbread house kits!
The Blue Room
This year’s official Christmas tree at the White House is an 18-foot-tall Fraser Fir, which stands in the center of the oval Blue Room. The tree’s extreme height means the chandelier in the room needed to be removed to accommodate it! Its decor is inspired by all the states and territories, and weaving around the base, there’s a replica of a vintage passenger train. Consider adding one to your own tree at home for a little more youthful charm, and complete it with miniature village sets. If you don’t want anything at the base of your tree (besides presents, of course), set up a train on a console or credenza!
White House Exterior
There are 72 wreaths adorning the north and south facades of the White House. This is such an easy, straightforward way to decorate—you can order a few faux miniature wreaths (or make your own if you’re feeling ambitious!) and hang them from your windows to make sure everyone entering your home knows how much you love the holidays.
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