Christmas at the White House is a very special time. Each year, with the
help of over 50 volunteers from around the country, the White House is magically
transformed into a winter wonderland.
For Christmas 1995, the White House decorations celebrate the story of the
classic American poem, "The Night Before Christmas." This year, the
First Family invited three distinct groups of artisans to create ornaments for
the White House trees. The American Institute of Architects and architecture
students designed ornaments representing the house that is the scene of Santa's
visit. Culinary schools sent ornaments of confectionery delights, inspired by "visions
of sugar plums," while the American Needlepoint Guild and the Embroiders
Guild of America created the traditional holiday stockings. The green velvet
hand-made tree skirt was designed by individual artisans from each of the 50
states, territories and the District of Columbia, to celebrate the first Clinton
holidays at the White House.
Children from the US Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools also
contributed ornaments based on their interpretations of the classic poem. These
ornaments are featured on two special trees located in the Diplomatic Reception
Room of the White House. The Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes and
supports primary and secondary schools that are noted for their exceptional arts
education, and their effectiveness in meeting the national education goals.
One of the most spectacular features of Christmas at the White House is the
Gingerbread house. Each year the house has a special theme; this year, the
house is a sentimental favorite of the First Lady, as it is a replica of her
girlhood home on Wisner Street in Park Ridge, Illinois. The two front rooms are
done as they would appear in "The Night Before Christmas:" the
bedroom is filled with children "all snug in their beds," and the
living room is complete with "stockings hung by the chimney with care."
The gingerbread house took nearly five months to create ... and of course, the
entire creation is edible. (Here, Mrs. Clinton looks at the gingerbread
As always, each ornament is a delightful reminder of the variety of American
talent and imagination.