A White (House) Christmas: Decorating Tips from the First Family

A White (House) Christmas: Decorating Tips from the First Family

You think you’ve got it bad doing the interior décor for your holiday event – the White House has a dozen rooms that it needs to decorate each Christmas, all of which will be toured by tens of thousands of guests, not to mention top-level media. The first lady and her decorators, however, have always proven up to the task, and this year was no different.

Based on the theme “A Timeless Tradition” – which aimed, according to the White House’s official website “to inspire visitors to celebrate long-held traditions while also creating new memories” – this year’s holiday décor features 12 spectacular rooms of Christmas spirit, dreamed up by First Lady Michelle Obama in conjunction with Boston- and New York-based event design company Rafanelli Events (nice job, guys!). Read on for tips on how to curate a stunning holiday display.

Event Production Blog: Presidential Decorating Tips
Photo: The Washington Post

Involve the Community

For a venue like the White House – a public institution as much as it is a private home – it’s only appropriate that the décor include members of the community. The White House achieved that this year by hanging 8000 paper snowflakes hand-cut by Washington DC students from the ceiling of the East Colonnade. Best of all? The kids wrote their education aspirations on each one.

Event Production Blog: Best Political Event Production Companies Washington DC
Photo: Michael Blanchard

Personalize the Decor

Avoid making your event look like an upscale department store by personalizing elements of your décor. For example? This year, the White House features larger-than-life dioramas of the Obama family’s two dogs, Bo and Sunny, spun from thousands of feet of knitted yarn. Who would’ve thunk family pets could be so impressive?

Event Production Blog: Political Event Design Company White House Christmas
Photo: Michael Blanchard

Incorporate seasonal elements

We know, this one sounds kind of “duh,” but when you’re decking the halls with spools of electric lights and plastic holly (which, by the way, you should never use), it can be easy to forget. Natural seasonal elements are a great way to create bold-colored accents without going over the top. This year, the Red Room, according to boston.com, features “apple wreaths, red cardinals, crisp golden oak leaves, and a garland.” Of course, let’s not forget the other obvious pics for natural highlights: pine wreaths and poinsettias.

Event Production Blog: White House Christmas Decorating Tips
Photo: Sacbee

Make It Delicious

What’s better than Christmas décor that represents the aspirations of schoolchildren or the beauty of nature? Stuff you can eat. As the Starbucks cup debate has shown us, there’s a diversity of opinions about what the holiday season does or should represent, but there’s one thing nobody can deny: That it is, in large part, about stuffing your face. The White House got this one right by showcasing what is essentially the most magnificent cookie any of us has ever seen – a gingerbread White House. Now if you can’t manage something quite this impressive, try something a bit simpler; reindeer-shaped cookies may be a bit more your speed.

Featured image: Whitehouse.gov

David Sonntag
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