Posts Tagged: Grand Foyer

Wednesday evening, after having worked on the decorations for the past five days, all of the volunteers were invited to a reception at the White House. This would be the first of many holiday parties at the house this season. Mrs. Obama estimated that over 100,000 people would get to enjoy the decorations we had created.

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It took an hour for 90 people to get through three security checkpoints to get inside the White House. They were super thorough.

[White House Reception 322]
Green room with trees and wreaths made from recycled magazines and newspaper

Once inside, it was easy to move about the public areas of the house. There was a screen set up in the lower cross hall to screen the President and First Family as they came and went. I am certain they have little privacy, so this was understandable. The house is really beautiful. It feels very intimate for the President’s residence, which surprised me. It is a big house, don’t get me wrong, but the overall feeling is very approachable and welcoming.

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About the second week of October I got a wonderful surprise. It was an email from the Social Secretary at the White House asking me to be one of the 100 volunteers they select each year to help decorate the White House for Christmas. I had written a letter to the Chief Floral Designer and to the Social Secretary back in January telling them of my interest, and finally word came. As I talked with the volunteers once I was in DC, it was clear that we all had done the same thing. We were not really selected on our ability to decorate….or who we were….or what we did in our daily lives. We were selected because of our passion to want to be a volunteer in the People’s House, and to help make it beautiful for the People of the United States. If I learned anything during this week of decorating, I learned that being a proud, helpful American is one of the most important things we can be.

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