I can't think of a more thrilling time to tour
the White House
than at Christmas when every inch is adorned
with the most incredible decorations I've ever seen!
But getting in wasn't easy....
The security clearances necessary to even be considered for an invitation are quite lengthy.
And you have to start the process early in the Fall!
First you are required to contact your state senator, who then sends your request
to the FBI, who runs a complete security check.
If you clear that channel, then your name goes into a lottery with no guarantee that you'll receive an invitation.
Obviously I was excited when I found out I made the cut!
On the day of the tour, we were told that we could not bring anything other than a cell phone.
(no purse, no camera, no bag - Nothing!)
I went through three security check points,
each of which verified my license against the list before they would let me proceed to the next.
The last one was a concealed machine that scanned you for explosives.....
I asked one guard if I could take her picture and she denied my request :-(
I've been so anxious to share this post with all of you! I have to say it tops my list of all
I have visited so far.
So bear with me if the photos as slightly blurred (cell phone pix aren't the best)
because I think you'll still find it to be a real treat!
Finally at the East Wing entrance,
I was already enthralled with the decorations, even before stepping inside!
Look at the scale of this spectacular urn with greenery!
The archways inside were accented with lighted garland.
And flanking this hallway,
are several rooms like the Library that houses more than 2700 books.
Prior to 1935, this room served as a laundry room and gentlemen's waiting room.
Next door is the China room
where the Truman china is set out for a holiday dinner.
This was the first state china service to feature the Presidential Coat of Arms.
The East Wing Hallway displays photos of past First Families
enjoying the holiday season.
And holding court in the East Garden room is this
life-size image of Bo, the First Family's Portuguese water dog!
On the other side is this gorgeous color-spectrum tree. It looks like Abe agrees!
Presiding over The State Dining Room is the famous portrait of Lincoln by George P.A. Healy.
If only I had a better way to record all of this.......
When we entered the State Room, this lovely hand bell choir played carols for us.
I love the Nativity scene behind them.
And the yellow silk drapery treatment is stunning!
At the end of this massive room is the crown jewel of the White House Christmas
the 300 pound Gingerbread House!
Lighted from within, Bo guards the front lawn while Santa's sleigh arrives on the rooftop!
(LOVE the topiary bows that adorn the sconces, too)
The theme for the Green Room is Wintertime's Serene Splendor
On the tree, tiny glass terrariums dangle from the branches.
(look in the left hand corner)
Can you imagine planting each one?
I was amazed at the attention to details.
The famous Red Room in all its splendor!
In the early 19th century, Dolley Madison used this room to receive visitors
during her famous Wednesday-evening receptions.
Red Room drapery detail with the Della Robbia garland
In the Blue Room
stands the Official White House Christmas Tree, an 18 foot fraiser fir from Jefferson, North Carolina.
Adorned with ornaments made by military children around the world
this magnificent tree pays tribute to our troops and their families who serve our country.
(Notice the gold-leafed ceiling medallion and faux swag wallpaper border)
The Cross Hall leading to the North Entrance is a spectacular sight
as you get a glimpse of the State Room from afar!
To the right in the Cross Hall is a familiar room,
the Oval Office.
They gave me special clearance to get this shot!
(Just kidding. Actually I had it taken at the White House Museum Shop but I thought it was fun)
As we exited to Pennsylvania Avenue, I took one last photo of the Grand Staircase,
which leads to the First Family's private residence.
I can just envision Jackie and Jack descending these stairs in all their formal finery!
I didn't want to leave...but all good things must come to an end.
Hope you enjoyed my personal tour of
Most Magnificent Home in America!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF MY LOYAL FOLLOWERS!
AND REMEMBER TO...
"EMBRACE THE JOYS OF GOOD DESIGN!"