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For The Holidays, The Obamas Open Up The White House One Last Time

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A variety of ornaments and decorations hang throughout the house. Most of the decoration designs this year use repurposed ornaments and embellishments that were already part of the White House holiday inventory.
Raquel Zaldivar, NPR
A variety of ornaments and decorations hang throughout the house. Most of the decoration designs this year use repurposed ornaments and embellishments that were already part of the White House holiday inventory.

Four days. 92 volunteers. And 150 pounds of gingerbread.

That's just part of what goes into decorating for the White House for Christmas.

Volunteers went to work the day after Thanksgiving, stringing thousands of bow ribbons and crystal ornaments throughout the mansion. Military families got a sneak peak at the decorations this week.

"As we celebrate my family's last holiday season in the White House, I'm thinking back to when we first came here to Washington and we promised to open up this house to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "We truly wanted to make the White House the 'People's House,' particularly during the holiday seasons."

"This is something I've always thought about doing," said Diane Wright, who traveled from Watertown, Connecticut to join the decorating party. "I do my mom's tree for her, so it was more or less a tribute to my mother."

Some of the volunteers are expert crafters. Others said they merely follow directions well.

"Somebody has to be on the ladder. Somebody has to be hanging. Somebody has to be holding something," said self-described "worker bee" Julie Byrne. "You're always a member of something bigger."

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