White House 'gifts from the heart' holiday decorations highlight unity, service

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The White House on Monday (Nov 29) unveiled its 2021 holiday decorations based on the theme “Gifts from the Heart,” as it highlighted things that unify humanity during a time of deep political division in the United States and separation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The White House said faith, community, family, friendship, the arts, learning, nature, gratitude, service, peace and unity were the gifts it was showcasing.

“As we celebrate our first holiday season in the White House, we are inspired by the Americans we have met across the country, time and again reminding us that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite,” first lady Jill Biden and President Joe Biden wrote in the 2021 White House holiday guide.

In a nod at unity, one tree has pictures of previous presidential families, both Democrats and Republicans, including the Obamas, Bushes, Reagans, Carters and Trumps. Another is covered with gold stars, to commemorate military members killed in service.

President Biden beat Republican former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Mr Trump has claimed, falsely, that the result was fraudulent, and urged a group of loyalists to march on the US Capitol after a rally on Jan 6. His supporters did so, invading the Capitol, leading to five deaths.

A gingerbread White House in the State Dining room honours frontline workers, and features eight community buildings surrounding the replica of the president’s home.

The 2021 decorations include 41 Christmas trees, some 6,000 feet (1,829m) of ribbon, more than 300 candles and more than 10,000 ornaments, the White House said. More than 78,750 lights were put up on the trees, wreaths and other displays.

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