First Lady Michelle Obama hosted military families Wednesday for the first public preview of holiday decorations at the White House.
This year's holiday theme is "A Timeless Tradition," with Christmas displays around the White House celebrating "extraordinary moments that shaped the country during the past two centuries."
In a new addition, the White House has propped up an iPad station surrounding a tree in the East Wing for visitors to send digital messages to American soldiers stationed overseas.
For the first time, the White House is letting guests send tweets/emails from these iPads to troops overseas. pic.twitter.com/PTI2OkKtkZ— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) December 2, 2015
The Blue Room also features a 18.5-foot-tall tree dedicated to servicemembers, and the White House said it will send a portion of a ribbon strewn around the tree to every military family at the end of the holiday season.
"Servicemembers and families represent the very best of us," First Lady Michelle Obama told an audience of military families at the White House Wednesday. "We want to make sure visitors here know about and honor your service."
After addressing military members and their families, the First Lady brought out the family dogs Sunny and Bo to play with around three dozen military children as they put arts and crafts together for the holidays.
Some of the first guests arrive to view the White House's holiday decorations. pic.twitter.com/mPXnE9UoQA— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) December 2, 2015
According to the First Lady's office, more than 68,000 guests visit the White House during the holiday season.
While there are 62 trees and more than 70,000 ornaments around the White House, only 10 percent of the decorations are from new material.
The White House is ready for the holidays! pic.twitter.com/UlChEHzBy0— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) December 2, 2015