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Fact #30

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The 2011 White House Christmas Decoration Theme “Shine, Give, Share,” Honors Our Nation’s Troops, Veterans, and their Families.


The 2011 White House Christmas decoration has the theme “Shine, Give, Share,” with the goal of paying tribute to our nation’s troops, veterans, and their families throughout the White House. Volunteers from 36 states plus the District of Columbia worked for days to get everything ready. In the East Room the theme was reflected in shimmering quartz ornaments and silver pine cones in the Entrance Hall. Opposite a 1767 portrait of Ben Franklin the small trees stood adorning antique tables.

In all there were 37 Christmas trees, 30 of which are natural trees and 7 are made from paper, felt or aluminum. The Gold Star Families Tree pays tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our Nation and to the families who continue to carry their proud legacy forward. It is decorated with Photos of these fallen heroes and messages from their loved ones honor their courageous service. Visitors can show thanks to service members by writing notes, and visiting Gold Star Families will have the opportunity to inscribe a ceramic gold star with a personalized note to decorate the tree. It was First Lady Michelle Obama’s idea to honor military families in this fashion and the tree was decorated by Gold Star families who volunteered their time this holiday season.

The Blue Room’s official White House Christmas tree, is an 18-foot-6-inch balsam fir which is decorated with cards created by military children , military medals ,badges, patches, historic images made on pine cones frames and ribbons inspired by Armed Forces. The decorations honor the brave women and men who protect America and defend its freedom. Then there is a 400-lb. model of the White House made with gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan.

On November 30, 2011, Michelle Obama honored military families as she unveiled her holiday décor. They saw two trees honoring military Gold Star families (those who have lost loved ones) and Blue Star families (those with family serving). Some 85,000 holiday visitors are expected to tour the White House, and the Obamas expect to entertain 12,000 volunteers, members of Congress, White House staff, Secret Service personnel and others at parties.

On December 1, 2011 President Obama joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Malia and Sasha and “Grandmother in Chief" Marian Robinson stated a new tradition by lighting a brand new National Christmas Tree in the President's Park outside the White House. The new tree replaces one lost in a storm earlier this year which had been part of the national tradition for 30 years. President Obama’s remarks focused on wishing Americans a “Merry Christmas,” helping others less fortunate regardless of color or creed or faith, giving thanks to our troops and veterans for their service. “Let us remember that we are one, and we are a family.” First Lady, Michelle Obama, continuing another tradition read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the crowd before the lighting ceremony began, and this year she was joined by Kermit the Frog.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bo-is-christmas-star-in-white-house-decor/2011/11/30/gIQAcdcwDO_story.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/holidays/

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2011/11/michelle_obama_shows_off_white.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/02/obama-family-starts-new-tradition-national-tree-lighting-ceremony

http://www.snopes.com/politics/christmas/ornaments.asp (False: Has the White House decreed that its 2011 Christmas trees will be referred to as “Holiday trees” and will not display ornaments bearing religious themes.)

Videos:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/white-house-unveils-holiday-decorations/2011/11/30/gIQAvaOmDO_video.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNJJTC0_rEU&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itGEHZHlvNM&feature=player_embedded