WASHINGTON — Because of the pandemic, the White House remains closed to public tours. But Boston 25′s Kerry Kavanaugh was invited inside to see the holiday decorations and speak one-on-one with the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden.
The First Lady said those decorations and displays are a thank you to the American people. The official theme this year is “gifts from the heart.”
It’s the tradition that the First Lady set the theme of holiday decoration each year. This year Dr. Jill Biden is doing it for the first time. She said it’s all based upon what she’s observed across the country during this pandemic – the small acts of kindness that have helped us all persevere.
One other thing we have to point out is the annual gingerbread house, which was dedicated to all frontline workers and first responders.
So, Boston 25 News arrived early Monday morning. We had to follow some safety protocols, including a COVID-19 test. Once inside, we were brought room by room; each room had a theme within the theme. So, a couple that stood out to us were the Green Room dedicated to the gift of nature - the First Lady believes in the healing power of nature - that room donned two purple trees and elegantly arranged fresh flowers.
Then there was the White House Library, dedicated to the gift of learning. The First Lady is a lifelong educator, giving a special nod to all teachers and educators and students for all they have endured during this pandemic.
And then there was the Gold Star Tree honoring members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice.
These decorations, as you might imagine, take some time. Planning for this year’s White House Christmas began back in May.
“Months and months of planning went into this. It started back in May. You’re trying to connect to Americans in so many different ways. What’s the key message you’re trying to communicate?” Kavanaugh asked.
“I think I’m trying to just say, maybe, ‘Thank you,’” the First Lady said. “It’s been a tough year, and I travelled all over this country and saw people I met – mainly frontline workers […] the nurses and doctors and police and fire fighters - and everyone was doing so much for their own communities. So, I want to say thank you, you’ve been strong and resilient, and it’s been tough!”
Kavanaugh was invited to the White House to see the holiday decorations but also got to talk with the First Lady about some of the issues facing our nation right now. She talked to the first about how divided the country is and, as a lifelong educator, asked her how she thinks the pandemic impacted students and teachers. She also asked her about the violence we are seeing play out in classrooms in Massachusetts.
Boston 25 News will continue to share more of their conversation throughout the week.
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