ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Elisha Beard report:
“It’s Christmas! It’s exciting!” First Lady Michelle Obama yelled from the festive East Room of the White House this afternoon.
Mrs. Obama got in the holiday spirit in the newly decorated White House today, welcoming the families of military members to see the new décor.
“This is a very exciting time here at the White House for me and our family,” Mrs. Obama said, “And I have to say the house looks more beautiful than it did last year. It is really something special."
Mrs. Obama mentioned the highlights of this year’s Christmas decoration – the giant Bo replica which she called “shocking,” and the 350 pound gingerbread house. Mentioning the theme of “Simple Gifts,” the First Lady said that that is really what the holiday season is all about.
“In the end, the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don't cost a thing — the time that we spend with our loved ones, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and the joy we feel from reaching out to those in need.”
For the second time in two years the White House has teamed up with Toys for Tots to help collect toys.
“Sounds like people are shopping away out there, and that’s a good thing,” she said, “And people should look for these boxes. Go online. We urge you to help make the holidays special for every family in this country. “
After her speech Mrs. Obama went to the State Dining Room of the White House where “creative stations” were set for children to make holiday ornaments, cards and decorated gingerbread cookies.
Mrs. Obama took off her formal jacket and helped decorate a card, and fold magazine pages to make a recycled Christmas tree.
A child gave Mrs. Obama a cookie she had decorated.
“That is delicious,” she said after taking a big bite for the cameras of the cookie.
-Sunlen Miller and Elisha Beard