White House Recycles Christmas Tree Ornaments

white house christmas tree photo

National Christmas Tree. Photo by Brown Pau via Flickr

Last night the National Christmas Tree, a living Colorado blue spruce, was lit, so now the holiday season is official. And inside the White House, Michelle Obama unveiled the Blue Room Christmas Tree, announcing her seasonal theme: "Reflect, Rejoice and Renew." She explained her wise reuse and recycled decorating idea: "We took about 800 ornaments left over from previous administrations, we sent them to 60 local community groups throughout the country, and asked them to decorate them to pay tribute to a favorite local landmark and then send them back to us for display here at the White House." So what's hanging on the tree? The 18½-foot Douglas-fir from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which arrived on the traditional horse-drawn carriage at the North Portico is adorned with classic images - a Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and the Kennedy Space Center. But also an ornaments depicting Davy Crockett Park in Tennessee, Pompey's Pillar from Billings, Montana, and naturally, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Since 1961, the Christmas tree in the Blue Room on the State Floor of the White House has had a themed motif chosen by the First Lady. Michelle Obama felt her "re-new" idea was commiserate with the economic times and she also reduced the number of trees in the White House this year (from 12 to 7). Apparently preparations were simplified, too. Though East Wing and Residence staff joined 92 volunteers from 24 states spending an estimated 3,400 hours decorating over the last several days. So what did they do before?

But a really nice touch sits next to the traditional gingerbread White House -- a miniature replica in marzipan of their organic vegetable garden. Oh, and there's Bo, the family dog curled up front, too.

It might have been better to decorate potted evergreens but recycling ornaments is a good message on a number of levels. Question is, will Michelle Obama's model of reuse with a meaningful community theme be reused?

More on Christmas trees:
Less Is More: The Half Christmas Tree
Oh Bike-Powered Christmas Tree, How Are Thy Leaves So Solar
Text to Plant a Tree During Rockefeller Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Real or Artificial Tree: Is it Even Worth Considering?

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