On December 7, First
Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the 1998 White House holiday theme, "A Winter
Wonderland." The White House has been decorated with ornaments, wreaths, trees,
mantelpieces, and a gingerbread house that evoke images of a winter fantasy.
The centerpiece of the Blue Room is the official White House Christmas Tree, an 18 ½ foot Balsam Fir from the Silent Night Tree Farm in Wisconsin. As in past years, the First Family has invited specific groups and individuals from around the country to create ornaments to adorn the tree. One group of ornaments were designed by artists, recommended by the governors' spouses in each of the fifty states, who designed their interpretations of holiday snowmen. The warmth of the room is captured with mittens and hats knitted by members of The Knitting Guild of America, and the thrill of winter sports is depicted in colorful wooden ornaments made by artists from the Society of Decorative Painters. The green velvet handmade tree skirt consists of individual panels designed by artisans from each of the fifty states, territories and the District of Columbia in honor of the Clinton family's first holiday season at the White House. The quilted hunter green panels are each uniquely designed, using a variety of quilting techniques.
The East Room has been transformed into an enchanted glittering wonderland. The room has been decorated with eighteen soaring conical trees and a traditional Advent wreath made of gold holly, shimmering white natural branches and assorted pine cones. The mantlepieces in the Green and Red Rooms have been designed and decorated under the direction of confectionary artist Colette Peters. The mantle in the Red Room reflects a Polar Bear Christmas at the North Pole, complete with an igloo, penguins, snowflakes, and "ice-cube" presents. The Green Room houses an edible Ice Palace made of white icing and surrounded by a lush Ice Garden. In addition, the Grand Foyer contains a pier table with a Christmas tree made of edible, festive, and colorful holiday packages.
Gingerbread House, located in the State Dining Room, captures the fantasy of
a Winter Wonderland on a grand scale. The State Dining Room has been transformed
into a magnificent, edible kingdom. A mountainous forest surrounds the gingerbread
castle and its towers and bridges. Miniature versions of Socks and Buddy, the
Clintons' pets, frolic throughout the kingdom in the true spirit of the holidays,
while oversized versions of the pets twirl on skating rinks. Santa Claus can
be seen in his sleigh, preparing to depart with his reindeer and gifts on his
Christmas Eve mission, as Mrs. Claus finishes the last minute tree decorating
inside the castle. The White House pastry chefs created this delicious and fanciful
masterpiece. The gingerbread house contains 90 pounds of gingerbread, 40 pounds
of chocolate, and weighs over 150 pounds.
1998 Holiday Tour
State Dining Room
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