First lady Jill Biden on Monday unveiled this year's White House holiday decorations, announcing the theme as "We the People."
More than 150 volunteers from across the country spent a week helping to decorate the inside and outside of the White House with 25 wreaths, 77 Christmas trees and over 83,615 holiday lights. There is also a gingerbread White House that was made out of 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate, and 40 pounds of royal icing, according to the office of the first lady.
While officially revealing the holiday theme and seasonal decor, Biden offered a holiday message of unity and hope and thanked the volunteers who helped spruce up the White House for the season.
"Over the last two years, I’ve traveled to almost 40 states -- to rural counties and big cities. Again and again, the Americans I’ve met have shown me the Soul of our Nation," the first lady said Monday in prepared remarks for the event at the White House in Washington, D.C. "I’ve seen it everywhere I've gone: When our country comes together, we are stronger. What we share is so much greater than the things that pull us apart. The Soul of our Nation is -- and always has been -- 'We the People.' And that is what inspired this year's White House holiday decorations."
Each room of the White House was decorated to "represent what brings us together during the holidays and throughout the year," according to Biden.
"The Gold Star trees honor and remember those who laid down their lives for our country, and the families who carry on their legacies," she said. "In the Library, we celebrate how the stories we share bring us closer to each other, our history, and the world around us. In the Vermeil Room, we honor how the smallest acts of kindness and appreciation really do matter. In the China Room, we remember family traditions passed down and dinner tables full of laughter."
"In the East Room, we highlight the national treasures that belong to us all -- our National Parks -- and the communion we find in nature," she continued. "In the Green Room, bells of all kinds remind us of the healing and unifying power of music. In the Red Room, we know that in times of both joy and grief, faith can light the way. In the State Dining Room, we honor the promise of the next generation and see the holidays through the eyes of children. And in the Blue Room, the official birds of all 57 states and territories -- and our Nation’s Capital -- are all woven together to transform the 18-foot Christmas Tree into a stunning symbol of unity."
As part of her White House initiative to support and promote the sacrifices and needs of military families, called Joining Forces, Biden was joined by members and leadership of the National Guard from more than 30 U.S. states and territories along with their families. The first lady, who holds a doctorate in education, was scheduled to partake in a roundtable discussion on education for military-connected children with National Guard families and state adjutants generals later Monday, according to her office.
"We wanted them to be a part of this special day because they represent the heart of our communities -- men and women who choose to serve even as they pursue other careers, who answer the call of duty in our hometowns as quickly as disasters strike and needs arise," Biden said. "Though our nation relies on their courage, the service of our Guardsmen and women, and of their families, often goes unseen -- especially children of National Guard members."
"As a fellow National Guard mom and grandmom, I wanted to welcome National Guard families to help us open this holiday season as my honored guests. Your service is the embodiment of We the People," she added.
The White House expects to welcome approximately 50,000 visitors during the holiday season, according to the office of the first lady.
"Throughout these halls, from the shining bells to the mirrored ornaments in the Grand Foyer behind me, you will see your own reflection -- a reminder and a request to see yourself in this house," Biden said. "And we are grateful to be able to welcome Americans home."
Last year's holiday theme was "Gifts from the Heart," intended to honor those who have persevered through hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 volunteers decorated the White House with approximately 25 wreaths, 41 Christmas trees, 300 candles, 6,000 feet of ribbon,10,000 ornaments and nearly 80,000 holiday lights, according to the office of the first lady.