Camille’s Blog of the Week
5 Things We Learned From White House Holiday Decor
Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit, the White House Christmas decorations—unveiled on Wednesday–are pretty awesome. So let’s all cross the aisle, put aside those pesky deep-seated ideological squabbles and dirty campaigning tricks, and exult in the glory of a fully decked-out 1600 Pennsylvania Ave—and maybe even learn a thing or two.
What’s that you say? You don’t have an army of volunteers, 62 trees, and 70,000 ornaments? You can still take away some practical advice for your own Christmas.
Tip 1: Upcycle/recycle
The first lady and her decorating team, which includes NYC/Boston celebrity event planner Rafanelli and fashion designer Carolina Herrera, completely updated the decor of the common spaces—but only 10% of the holiday items they used are new. That means 90% of the ornaments and decorations were part of the existing White House collection. Their strategy: using things in new ways. Place oversize ornaments in bowls or along windowsills instead of just on the tree. Add in a new color to your mix that works with last year’s colors. Make these new ornaments big and bold so they give the appearance of a whole new look.
Tip 2: When in doubt, add chocolate
Luckily for you, you won’t have a White House–worthy 500-pound gingerbread house to dip. So why not add some weight (and style) to your cookie structure with this genius trick: Dip the gingerbread in chocolate before putting the house together. You’ll make people happy.
Tip 3: Make it meaningful
We love the fact that snowflakes handmade by schoolchildren hang in the hallway. Even cooler: Each snowflake represents one of the 56 states and territories and features symbols of America such as state flags and seals. Get out the scissors and the sentiment and start cutting…
Tip 4: Don’t forget Fluffy
If you’re crazy about your pets, you might opt for larger-than-life replicas, as the Obamas did with dogs Bo and Sunny. Or you can modify this adorable idea. Decorate a miniature tree for your pets that features things they will love. The Obamas opted for dog treats and tennis balls. “I think I’ve heard Bo and Sunny are pretty excited about that one,” first lady Michelle Obama has said.
Tip 5: Personalize the garland
A homemade garland constructed of ribbon inspired by the Stars and Stripes and featuring sentimental messages from service families wraps a Douglas fir in the Blue Room. How about having holiday guests write their own wishes on the ribbon and then giving out portions as a holiday keepsake, as the White House is doing? Or just save it for next year.