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First lady Jill Biden unveils this year's White House Christmas decorations

The official Christmas tree, an 18-foot-tall Fraser Fir from Fleetwood, N.C., stands in the center of the oval Blue Room during a media preview of the 2023 holiday decorations at the White House on Monday.
Kevin Dietsch
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Getty Images
The official Christmas tree, an 18-foot-tall Fraser Fir from Fleetwood, N.C., stands in the center of the oval Blue Room during a media preview of the 2023 holiday decorations at the White House on Monday.

Updated November 27, 2023 at 6:47 PM ET

A winter wonderland has arrived at the White House, as first lady Jill Biden unveiled this year's decorative theme for the Christmas season on Monday.

The theme, "Magic, Wonder, and Joy," is inspired by children's experiences of the season: "completely present in the beauty and bounty around them, their senses alight, with hearts open to the magic, wonder, and joy of the holidays," Biden said.

First lady Jill Biden speaks about the holiday season and unveils the White House holiday decor while thanking volunteers who helped set it up, at the White House on Monday.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
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Getty Images
First lady Jill Biden speaks about the holiday season and unveils the White House holiday decor while thanking volunteers who helped set it up, at the White House on Monday.

Throughout the White House grounds are 98 Christmas trees, almost 34,000 ornaments, 72 wreaths and about 142,000 holiday lights.

The China Room is decorated to become the "White House Sweet Shop." The White House expects to welcome approximately 100,000 visitors during the holiday season.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
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Getty Images
The China Room is decorated to become the "White House Sweet Shop." The White House expects to welcome approximately 100,000 visitors during the holiday season.

Here are some of the decor highlights:

  • The Blue Room displays the official White House tree, an 18.5 foot Fraser Fir that reaches from the floor to the ceiling and was sourced from North Carolina. The tree has the names of all the U.S. states, territories and Washington, D.C. A toy train chugs around the bottom of the tree.
  • The ornaments on the Gold Star Christmas tree are engraved with the names of military servicemen who have died. 
  • The marble arches in the Ground Floor Corridor are decorated with letters to Santa and holiday messages from around the country. Biden thanked the correspondence volunteers who keep in touch with Americans year round. This area also features various editions of the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore to commemorate its 200th anniversary. 
  • The East Room, the largest room in the White House, features a Nativity scene and Advent calendars counting down the days to Christmas, with surprises behind each number. 
  • The China Room is filled with sweet treats, such as cakes, cookies and gingerbread. 
  • In the Red Room are ornaments that have the hand prints and family portraits of children who belong to military families. 
  • The State Dining Room has a rendition of Santa's workshop, equipped with workbenches, stools and ladders leading up to the Christmas trees. The room also features a gingerbread replica of the White House. 

The ornaments on<strong> </strong>the Gold Star Christmas tree are engraved with the names of military servicemen who have died.
Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
The ornaments on the Gold Star Christmas tree are engraved with the names of military servicemen who have died.

More than 300 volunteers worked for over a week to decorate the White House.

To schedule a tour of the White House to see the decorations, you can email your House representative.

A gingerbread White House is displayed in the State Dining Room.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A gingerbread White House is displayed in the State Dining Room.

"I know that [magic, wonder and joy] can feel hard to find sometimes as the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, as our hearts grow heavy in the face of a tumultuous world, as we miss those who are no longer with us – an empty seat at the table of our holiday gatherings. But it's in these times when we are searching for hope and healing...that's when we need each other the most," Biden said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
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