There's only one house cooler than the White House this time of year: the gingerbread house that lives in the White House. Made of 150 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of bread dough, 20 pounds of gum paste, 20 pounds of icing, and 20 pounds of sculpted sugar pieces, it's a sweet sight to take in.
Of course, the actual White House is a close second, with plenty of festive decorations. This year's holiday theme, The Gift of Family and Friends, refers to presents (of course) and also the true gifts of life (think: service, friends and family, education, and more). We got a tour earlier today — and now you get to take a look.
The Gingerbread House
We'll start with the gingerbread house because it had so many realistic details, down to Santa and reindeer on the roof, Sunny and Bo figurines, actual windows that revealed interior scenes, and even the White House Kitchen Garden.
This massive sugary sculpture sits in the State Dining Room (its traditional spot), but the room's decorations don't end there.
State Dining Room
A team of seven LEGO Master Builders spent a total of 500 hours designing and building custom LEGO gingerbread decorations. The room features two trees decked out with 56 gingerbread houses (one for each state and territory). Can you guess these states?
The mantel features a LEGO paper chain that measures approximately 18 feet long, and LEGO gingerfriends, built from 4,900 bricks.
East Visitor Entrance and East Wing Hallway
Let's backtrack a little and rewind to the beginning of the tour. Bows (more than 8,000 of 'em!), ornaments, and ribbons galore welcome guests as they enter.
Then, guests come upon two giant (like, extra-giant) replicas of Bo and Sunny — made of more than 25,000 yarn pom-poms.
The next room pays tribute to military families through the First Lady and Dr. Biden's Joining Forces initiative. Visitors can use the tablets to send heartfelt messages to our troops.
What better room than the library to talk about the gift of education? Plastic rulers make up a giant toy box filled with ornaments. And these look like normal holiday trees, but take a closer look and you'll see they're made of pencils and crayons. Finally, two trees feature ornaments with the word "girls" in 12 different languages — a nod to the First Lady's Let Girls Learn initiative.
There are other Christmas trees throughout the White House, but this is considered the White House Christmas tree. It's so tall — 19 feet! — that chandeliers and furniture had to be moved to get this baby into place.
Today, the First Lady was even part of the attraction! She was there decorating cookies with some very lucky kiddos.
This is all just the tip of the iced gingerbread man when it comes to what's in store at the White House this holiday season. There's even more to see in the Green and Red rooms, the East room, the China room and all the hallways in between. Luckily, you don't have to take our word for it: The White House is open for self-guided tours! You just have to set one up ahead of time. As the First Lady said today, "Come to the White House. It's really cool."
See how to book your own tour: Christmas at the White House