Last week I got the exciting opportunity to tour the White House in all its holiday glory. I'll post more about that tour (including lots of photos!) tomorrow. But we have to give special mention to the "official" White House Christmas tree. This year, the 18-foot Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina is dedicated the courageous service of our men and women in the military. Here it is in the Blue Room.
You can see the "Joining Forces" banner running across the tree's boughs. Joining Forces is the First Lady and Jill Biden's special initiative to bring more support and opportunities to military families. But you have to look closely to see the sweetest part of this tree.
The tree is decorated with these specially-designed snowflake ornaments...
And the flip sides of these ornaments have all been hand-decorated by military children living on U.S. bases all over the world to honor their parents' service.
It's amazing and humbling to see those kids' handwriting on all those ornaments. You can't help thinking about your own kids when you see them -- and about what it means to have parents in the service. There were other hand-decorated ornaments by the kids, like this one.
You can download and print out your very own Joining Forces ornament, too. Visitors to the White House are encouraged to fill out an Honor Card, pledging to do community service in honor our troops, veterans, and military families. The East Landing and entrance is also dedicated to our Armed Forces and their families. The trees there are decorated with special Gold Star ornaments for veterans who gave their lives in service -- and for their families. And the overall effect? It fills you with a sense of gratitude, and it also just makes you want to hold your own families closer to you. The White House holiday theme this year is "Joy to All," and we especially felt that joy expressed for our military families.
Are you decorating for the holidays with any special themes in mind?
Images via Adriana Velez