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The Bidens unveil their first White House Christmas decorations

A Christmas tree is seen in the Red room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021.
A Christmas tree is seen in the Red room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021.

For their first Christmas in the White House, the Biden family will celebrate with the theme of "gifts from the heart" for their holiday decor.

In unveiling the theme on Monday, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden explained:

"The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, and nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace. These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives."

An ornament of a portrait of U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden is hung on a Christmas Tree in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of the holiday decorations Nov. 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
/ Alex Wong/Getty Images
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An ornament with a portrait of President Biden and first lady Jill Biden hangs on a Christmas tree in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations on Nov. 29.

In just one week, over 100 volunteers from the local area decorated the outside and inside of the White House with 41 Christmas trees, 6,000 feet of ribbon and over 78,750 holiday lights.

Every room in the White House celebrates a different gift

In the East Colonnade and East Landing, doves and shooting stars adorn the hallways. The decorations honor the service of COVID-19 front-line workers and first responders. Featured here is a Christmas tree that honors military members "who have laid down their lives for our country, and the families who carry on their legacies."

The library is decorated with stacks of books, as well as birds and butterflies created out of recycled newspaper; it represents the gift of learning. The Vermeil Room is decorated with colorful paint swatches and paintbrushes and represents the gift of the visual arts.

Wreathes are seen on the back of chairs in the room that displays the White House's collection of state china. The holiday decorations symbolize the gift of friendship and sharing.
/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
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Wreathes decorate the backs of chairs in the room that displays the White House's collection of state china. The holiday decorations symbolize the gift of friendship and sharing.

The East Room, the largest room in the White House, represents the gift of gratitude. It is decorated with a Neapolitan crèche that includes over 40 figurines from the 18th century; the crèche has been displayed every holiday season since 1967.

A White House Military social aide looks on near the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, D.C. on November 29, 2021.
/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
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A White House military social aide stands near the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room during a press preview of the White House's holiday decorations on Nov. 29.

The Blue Room, where the official White House Christmas tree stands, represents the gift of peace and unity. Doves carrying a banner embossed with every U.S. state and territory cascade down the tree.

The Red Room, decorated to represent the gift of the performing arts, includes brass instruments hanging from the mantel. Ballet slippers, tap shoes and musical notes are strung around the tree.

A ginger bread White House is seen in the State Dining room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 29, 2021.
/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
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A gingerbread White House is seen in the State Dining Room during a press preview of the White House's holiday decorations on Nov. 29.

The State Dining Room represents the gift of family. It features a gingerbread White House made of 55 sheets of baked gingerbread. It has eight detailed replicas of community buildings to honor front-line workers, including a hospital, police station and fire station.

Members of the U.S. Marine Band play holiday music during a press tour of White House Christmas decorations in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 29, 2021.
/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
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Members of the U.S. Marine Band play holiday music during a press tour of White House Christmas decorations on Nov. 29.

The Grand Foyer and Cross Hall represent the gift of faith and community. The area is decorated with floating candles. The hallway alcoves and tree displays depict wintry scenes of towns and cities, representing the bonds of communities.

Tien Le is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.