The White House will be merry and bright this Christmas, even as President Biden faces a series of setbacks.
First lady Jill Biden was set to unveil the executive mansion’s 2021 holiday decorations Monday, following the theme of “Gifts from the Heart.”
“As we celebrate our first holiday season in the White House, we are inspired by the Americans we have met across the country, time and again reminding us that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite,” the first lady and the president said in a joint statement. “We wish you a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season. As we look to a new year full of possibility, may gifts from the heart light our path forward.”
Reporters were given an early preview of the decorations ahead of the official unveiling by Jill Biden and a National Guard family. Members of the press were walked through several rooms where sub-themes and symbols representing different “gifts” were on display.
For example, the White House library was decorated to commemorate the “gift of learning,” with butterflies made of recycled paper flying out of books. The Vermeil Room celebrates the “gift of the visual arts” and features brightly colored paintbrushes. The East Room was chosen to house the “gift of gratitude” theme — featuring thank-you cards the Bidens have received throughout the year.
In the State Dining Room, celebrating the “gift of family,” the first lady decorated a Christmas tree with photographs of past and present first families — including former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.
“Each family who made this house a home reminds us all of the enduring love and lasting bonds of family,” the White House said in a statement.
During the Trump administration, Melania’s holiday decorations were sharply criticized for their monochromatic theme, which some likened to a horror film.
The White House decor for 2021 includes 41 Christmas trees, around 6,000 feet of ribbon, over 10,000 ornaments, and more than 300 candles. Nearly 79,000 lights were used to decorate the trees, wreaths, garlands and other holiday displays around the White House.
Twenty-five “classic” wreaths decorate the north and south sides of the building, while the State Dining Room also features a gigantic gingerbread White House and includes eight detailed replicas of community buildings that represent front-line workers.
It took over 100 volunteers approximately one week to decorate the inside and outside of the White House.
The Bidens’ holiday decorations were revealed as the president and his administration struggle to pass his spending agenda and respond to the rapidly spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant, rising prices for gas and goods, and global supply chain delays.
Over the weekend, economist Mohamed El-Erian warned “Fox News Sunday” that Omicron could worsen supply chain problems and lead to more restrictions, harming the marketplace.
“The marketplace is worried about two things: one, that yet another variant of COVID is going to hit them hard,” he said. “We travel less. We go out to restaurants less, and we may have additional restrictions that are imposed on us. That’s issue number one.
“And issue number two, the marketplace is worried also that this will cause more inflation, that the supply chain will be disrupted even more,” El-Erian added. “Those two things together: lower growth, high inflation are stagflation, and that’s what the market is worried about right now.”
With Post wires