The White House-approved Holiday Decor I'm Recreating at Home

An heirloom family recipe garland is just one of the ideas I'm taking from my time as a White House holiday decorator.

This year I was chosen as a volunteer holiday decorator for the White House. Every year, more than 100 volunteers from all over the country meet in Washington, D.C. to get the People's House ready for the holidays around a theme traditionally chosen by the First Lady. While the results are always grand, it wasn't until experiencing it myself that I realized how much of the decorating is comprised of simple DIY projects that anyone can recreate at home.

For the 2022 holiday season, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden chose a décor theme that captures the spirit embodied in the very idea of America: We the People. This theme came to light throughout the house in many ways, big and small, with specific rooms designed around what brings We the People together during the holidays and throughout the year.

I had the honor to decorate the China Room (a room formalized by First Lady Edith Wilson in 1917 for housing tableware used by past presidential families). The decoration theme for the China Room this year is "Food & Traditions." This theme resonated with me not only as a foodie, but also as an American who, like so many of us, has many warm memories of time spent with multiple generations of family in the kitchen cooking and around the table enjoying meals. Dr. Biden always says, "food is love," and that's exactly what I feel when recalling these memories.

This feeling makes for heartwarming, though out-of-the-box, holiday décor inspired by cooking and food. I'm looking forward to recreating some of the easy decorations at home myself, and here's how you can, too.

picture of white house christmas decoration
Ramona Cruz-Peters

How To Incorporate Food-themed Holiday Decor From the White House Into Your Home

  • String together hand-written recipe cards to create garlands you can display on trees and mantels. Cherished family recipes were submitted by volunteers from across the country (including some of my own and some submitted by Dr. Biden herself). We made newer cards look aged by brushing them with furniture polish before affixing them to chicken wire with hot glue.
  • Trim trees with kitchen tools. We used rolling pins with the handles painted a festive red, vintage pans and measuring cups spray painted to look like copper, and faux china melamine plates.
  • Even edible decorations were involved! Gingerbread men look great on a festive kitchen-themed tree.
  • Dip wooden spoons in joint compound followed by sparkly craft snow to imitate being dipped in frosting. We hung these from the mantel and around one of the Christmas tree stands.

Wishing you more of these happy, loving memories with your loved ones this holiday season and beyond!

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