21 December 2011

Bo’s Christmas

 

This is without a doubt the hardest week for me to blog.  Not being Christian, there’s not much happening  décor-wise that I can show or relate to.   I should probably just take this week off and finish up shopping for Ben’s family Christmas, since no one really reads blogs this time of the year anyway.   I wish I had something personal to write about, but  I don’t have a pretty tree to show, or a table decorated for a fancy dinner.  There are no wreaths at my house – either with the bow tied on top or on the bottom.   There’s no garland hanging from our stairs nor is there anything red or green or plaid.  

Two years ago I wrote about the Webb Family Christmas which turned into a major comment war – 304 people wrote in,  many to tell me how obnoxious it all looked.  I don’t know if I am up to showing all that again this year!  Maybe.  We’ll see how it goes at my sister in law’s ranch.  Things are different now and less carefree than they were two years ago.  My sweet mother in law had a stroke this year, and well, it’s so sad, especially for Ben and his two brothers.   Also, the kids are all growing up – I’m not sure any of the Webb cousins even believe in Santa Claus anymore.  And my own daughter will be 21 soon – she’s really too old to get 8 presents  – one for each night of Hanukkah.    

I used to host our Cohen family Hanukkah dinner every December, but for the past two years my sister has taken over that duty. Gawd, I am having such a pity party here!    It’s really pathetic when the biggest holiday decoration you have is an evergreen scented candle.  Yep.  That’s it folks.   So, in lieu of showing a menorah and bright candles, I thought I’d check out and see what the Obamas had cooked up this year and boy, what a surprise!  It’s a Bo Christmas at the White House. 

 

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Although the official theme this year is “Shine, Give, and Share” – a tribute to the troops, veterans and their families – the real star of the White House Christmas is Bo, the black and white Portuguese water dog the Obamas  adopted when they moved into Pennsylvania Avenue two years ago.  Bo, named after the President’s initials B.O. (what terrible initials!) is the cutest dog there is.  Since many children of our servicemen were invited to the White House for the celebrations, I’m assuming the officials thought that Bo would provide some levity to the occasion which for some children might be very emotional.   There is a separate Christmas tree for Blue Star families and Gold Star families –those who have a member of their family who sacrificed their life for our country.  Bo, therefore, is a ray of sunshine.     “It’s sort of a ‘where’s Bo?’” First Lady Michelle Obama says. “You’ve got to find the Bo in every room, because he’s hidden everywhere.”   Bo likenesses are made out of felt, licorice and marshmallows, pom-poms, buttons and even trash bags!  How the designers come up with all these ideas year after year is astounding.

 

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)<br /><br />This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. 


What a gorgeous family!  The last official portrait of the Obamas was two years ago, so this Christmas they took a new one.   It’s funny how the baby Sasha always cuddles up with Obama, while Malia, the eldest, always wraps herself around her mother.  Some critics of this photo say they look like they are clinging onto each for dear life!   Wonder why they left Bo out of the portrait?

 

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Actually, Bo’s official portrait was taken earlier this year, in the garden with the First Lady.  Isn’t he a stunner?  He even held out his pretty pink tongue just perfectly.

 

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The first hint that Bo is the star of this Christmas is the official White House Christmas card, featuring this drawing by Mark Matuszak.   There is Bo, warming himself by the roaring fire, like any normal dog would.  It’s customary to feature the White House, not the President or First Lady on the holiday card.  The drawing is of the White House Library, with its beautiful center table and striped silk curtains.

 

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The holiday card was a drawing of this room – The Library – which houses over 2,700 books.  During the holiday season, White House Christmas memorabilia is displayed here.  The first president to ever issue a holiday greeting was Calvin Coolidge back in 1927 – when he placed the greeting in newspapers around the country.  The first card was sent by Herbert Hoover.  This “Bo,” one of five replicas, was created using black and white trash bags! 

 

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The start of the season.   The day the White House Christmas tree was delivered, Bo was there to welcome it.

 

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Also there is the First Lady, Malia and Sasha.  Can’t imagine how wonderful it is for the girls to celebrate Christmas in the White House!  Must be so magical.

 

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All dressed up for the tree lighting. 

 

 

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And here it is this year – the tree all lit up for Christmas. 

 

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For the Christmas tours and parties, the real Bo came around to greet the children.  I love how he has a red leash – to coordinate for Christmas.  Plus, black and white looks good with red!  This is where the tour starts – at the East Visitors Entrance.

 

 

 

 

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Walking in, the Cross Hall is decorated with two main trees that flank the doorway to the oval Blue Room where the main tree is.  To the left is the entrance lobby via the North Portico.  Here you can see the beautiful marble columns and floors.  The White House almost looks like a rather large, expansive home in this picture. 

 

 

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And looking from the other way – on the right is the entry to the house at the North Portico.  At the left you can see the entrance to the Blue room with the two trees flanking it.

 

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The Blue Room with the largest tree.  This is the 18’ 6” tall Balsam fir Blue Star Family tree.  The tree is adorned with cards from military family children, along with medals, badges and patches from all the different military branches. 

 

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Interior Design critic is turning on now:   I think the White House is in need of an update!  It just doesn’t look classic or elegant the way it is currently decorated.  I wish that Michael Smith – the Obama’s decorator – could be in charge of a redecoration of all the wall coverings, rugs, and curtains.  For instance – the curtain fabrics - I hate the vivid gold mixed in with the vivid blue.  It looked so much prettier under the Kennedys when it was a softer French blue. 

 

 

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The Blue Star Family tree – with all the children’s cards and the medals and badges hanging as ornaments.   The chandelier has to be removed in order for the tree to fit in this room.

 

 

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A Purple Heart used as an ornament on the tree. 

 

 

First Lady Michelle Obama walks with children past the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Nov. 30, 2011. Mrs. Obama welcomed military families to the White House for for the first viewing of the 2011 holiday decorations. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)<br /><br />This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. 

Mrs. Obama with the children of our servicemen.  Dressed in black and white – just like Bo!

 

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The Red Room decorated for Christmas.

 

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`Here you can see the wreaths in the window and the trees in red painted boxes.   The rug has been rolled up on both sides to protect it from the crowds.   Why is Dolly Madison hanging so high above the mantel?  Bring her down a few inches or more!

 

 

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Here is a close up view of the cranberry wreaths and trees.  So cute in those red boxes!   Notice how the vase made of cranberries on this table matches the wreaths.  Again, the curtains – with the gold mixed in with the red - seem so unattractive.   Can’t there be a more elegant design in this room?

 

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In the Red Room, a small Bo is made entirely of buttons.  Notice where his heart is – there is a single heart shaped button!

 

 

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Another view of the button covered Bo, taken by a visitor to the White House.

 

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The Green Room features trees made out of recycled aluminum. 

 

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A close up of the beautiful green silk moiré wallpaper.  Notice the two convex mirrors. 

 

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This Bo is made of licorice and marshmallows.  He sits on a side table in the Green Room.

 

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The beautiful marble mantel, a match to the one in the Red Room.

 

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Uh-oh.  Bo is losing some of his licorice!

 

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A bigger view of the room.  As in the Red Room, large wreaths are in the window atop smaller Christmas trees.   The bright persimmon fabric covering an original Duncan Phyfe chair is a recent change to the room.   Again, these curtains are starting to really get on my nerves!!!   I’m going to just say it - I think they really are so ugly, so tacky – I’m just shocked they are in the White House. Shouldn’t they be more elegant looking instead of looking like candy confections?

 

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The next room is the State Dining Room – one of the prettier rooms on the state floor.  It’s walls are a light stone color and the curtains are a simple design – finally, although they should be more elegant.  The rug is a beautiful flowered pattern.   Here two large trees flank the fireplace.

 

 

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Children of servicemen were invited to make gingerbread houses and do crafts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mrs. Obama brought Bo with her to meet the little chefs.  Check out their cute hats!  The First Lady and Bo really do match – wonder if that was planned.

 

 

 

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The traditional White House gingerbread house is set up in the State Dining Room.  It weighs 400 hundred pounds and takes two months to make.    Notice Bo is in the front lawn.  To the left of the house is a replica of the First Lady’s vegetable garden.  What a gorgeous mirror. 

 

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A closeup of the house – the details are amazing. 

 

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The East Room is the most elegant room – all gilt and creams.  Notice the gilt cornices on the curtains.  The trees here are pretty and more natural looking.   There are four trees decorated with paper leaves set up in this room alone!  Here, the First Lady talks with the children of the servicemen who came to visit.

 

 

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In this picture you can see the rug up close. 

 

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The crèche is set up in the East Room – flanked by two more trees.

 

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An urn set up in the window of the East Room.

 

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A glimpse of the stairway under the eyes of President Truman.

 

 

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Little Bo ornaments are everywhere – here they are set up in votives on top of a mantel.

 

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The tour continues along to the East Wing, where the windows in the colonnade have alternative recycled paper wreaths and stars.  At the end of the hall, arched garland flanks the entry into the East Garden Room.

 

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Looking into the East Garden Room with its own colorful tree.

 

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Bo, made of black and white wool felt, is the star in the East Garden Room.

 

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The ornaments in this area are made of paper.  This Bo is the tallest of the five Bo statues – measuring over a majestic 4 feet!

 

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The official program contains the template to make your own paper tree like these.  You can get it online HERE

 

 

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The most poignant tree is located in the East Visitor Landing.  The Gold Star Family tree is covered with personal messages from families who have lost loved ones while fighting to protect us.  There is an interactive display, along with stars that members of Gold Star Families can write on and place directly onto the tree.  I’m sure the emotions were powerful around this display. 

 

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Some of the personal messages on the Gold Star Family tree.

 

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Leading into the displays on the ground floor are portraits of First Ladies and gingerbread houses.  I’ve never seen this painting of Hillary Clinton – in a pants suit!

 

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Notice Barbara Bush posed with her beloved dog.

 

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The Vermeil Room has more portraits of First Ladies.  The trees are in pots in this room.

 

 

 

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My favorite First Lady, ever!  Her portrait is gorgeous.  Notice how elegant these damask curtains are – why can’t they all be like this????

 

 

 

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Patricia Nixon’s portrait is rather beautiful. 

 

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And another favorite, Texan Lady Bird Johnson.  Notice the beautiful marble mantel.  This room looks so elegant and feminine, I’d love to see it in person. 

 

 

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There’s a center table – with two chairs that flank the fireplace, on the right.

 

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Standing in the hallway in the ground level is this darling Bo – with glasses.  He is made out of black and white pom poms. 

 

 

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The China Room is another beautiful small room on the ground floor.  The portrait of Mrs. Grace Coolidge with her dog is perfect for this spot – with her matching red dress.

 

 

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More Bo ornaments are placed on the set table in the China Room.

 

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The last room on the tour is the Library, where this year’s Holiday Card was painted.  Here, the large Bo made out of trash bags sits in front of the fire.

 

 

 

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Bo shows up in the Christmas cookies!

 

 

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And Bo went with the First Lady out visiting patients at the National Medical Center.  Notice how his paw keeps in close contact with his mistress.

 

 

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And don’t think that Hanukkah is forgotten at the White House.  The First Family celebrate it each year – although it was celebrated a few weeks early this year.  I love how Mrs. Obama wore blue!  Most interesting is the White House kitchenwas turned “kosher” for this event.   Watch the video on how that was accomplished HERE.

 

Even though Bo was the unofficial theme of this year’s decorations, the true theme is something not to forget, especially during these tough times:

   “The official “Shine, Give, Share” theme is intended to highlight the nation’s troops and celebrate the “countless ways we can lift up those around us, put our best self forward in the spirit of the season… and share our blessings with all,” according to the White House.”

Amen.

 

 

Double click on the arrow to see how all the Bo’s were made!!!

 

 

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The beautiful Bo – relaxes in the even more beautiful West Garden Room or the Palm Room.  How romantic is this spot?  I’ve never seen this area before – it’s just wonderful.  Why can’t more of the White House be as gorgeous?  Seeing some of the curtains spurred me on to do a little research:

 

 

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Today, the Blue Room is a mix of gold and dark blue.  I don’t think this can compare to how it looked under the Kennedys.  The curtains are so garish.

 

 

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The Kennedy Blue Room – so much softer, without the vivid blue and yellow.  And what a charming skirted table!   Of course today, the rug would be custom made to fit the oval – probably a better look.   Notice how here the paintings are at eye level – yet today they are hanging way too high.  Just a little detail that defies design logic.  Notice too how beautiful this chandelier is – compared to the one used today.  Jacqueline Onassis lamented the new chandelier saying it was not in proportion to the room – exactly Jackie!!!!

 

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The furniture was originally ordered by President Monroe in 1818 from France.  Which Blue Room do you prefer?

 

 

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In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt redesigned the room.  Notice the skin rug – too funny!  That would never happen today! 

 

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Get your blinders out!  The Red Room today – here gold and red.  The rug is a copy of the one Jackie Kennedy put in the room originally.   It’s very beautiful.  The mantels here and in the Green Room are identical.  They were moved here from the redesigned State Dining Room.

 

 

 

 

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I like this view of the Red Room – showing the enfilade of the Blue Room down to the State Dining Room.

 

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Compare the Kennedy Red Room with today’s.  These curtains are so much simpler, more elegant.  It’s amazing the same chandelier is still in this room, as is much of the furniture.  Also, the red was more muted in this scheme than it was before and is today.  The rug is also the same.

 

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Another view of the Kennedy Red Room.

 

 

 

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The Green Room today with its green and white striped curtains and its collection of Duncan Phyfe and Sheraton furniture.  The room was refurnished in 2007. 

 

 

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A close up of the vibrant new rug and newly covered chair.

 

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I think this is a very pretty view of the room – showing the gorgeous pair of convex mirrors.   I like the striped fabric – even in the curtains, but it’s just all too much.

 

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The Green Room after Kennedy restored it.  The walls were a soft moss green, not nearly as dark as today.  The fabrics were white with green toile.

 

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And in another view.   The curtains are so much simpler.  Much of this furniture is no longer used in this room.

 

 

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Had to laugh at an early picture of the Green Room.  This was before the fireplace was replaced.   Look at all the slipcovers!!!!  OMG!  That is hysterical!!!

 

 

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One of the worst travesties against the Kennedy decorations happened in the Family dining room on the second floor.  Mrs. Kennedy found rolls of antique wallpaper depicting the Civil War and hung them in this room.  They stayed this way shown above until the Fords came.

 

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Betty Ford hated the antique wallpaper so much she had it removed.   Shown here are the Fords and a young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

 

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The Carters had the paper reinstalled.

 

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The paper remained through the Reagan administration. 

 

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When the Clintons came – the paper was again removed.  Such a travesty!!   It’s never been replaced since.  I know that Michael Smith would want the paper used – I just wonder why it never was put back on the walls.  Mrs. Kennedy placed another mural wallpaper by Zuber in the Diplomat Room.  That paper remains there today.  Thank God!

 

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The government owns the Blair House – a series of connected townhouses across from the White House.  It’s mostly used for overnight diplomatic and private guests.   It’s called the most exclusive hotel in the world!   In a recent refurbishment, several designers were called in – including Mario Buatta.  Look how elegant this room is!  Such a gorgeous wallpaper and mirrors, pretty fabrics.   Funny to see a Rose Tarlow tea table used instead of an antique though.   But still, it’s time that the White House hires a real decorator, not the one the First Lady brought with her from Dallas or Arkansas, but one with national credentials, who knows antiques and fabrics and can make the White House more elegant and less garish.   Just my thoughts!!   Read the Blair House website HERE.  And finally…..

 

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To read more about the history of the White House Christmas, this book by Jennifer Pickens is the definitive source!!!   Order it HERE from Amazon.

 

Wishing a most Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy and Healthy New Years to you all!!

141 comments:

  1. I just wanted to comment on your Webb Family Christmas post. I thought it was wonderful. I love seeing extended families get together and having a great christmas. life is stressful and thanks for sharing your family with all of us. Unfortunately some of us have families that don't get along well enough to behave for one day. Have a Happy Hanukkah and a great holiday season with family.

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  2. Can't believe they spend the kind of money they do to decorate a house for the regular part of the year much less at holiday time. I might be able to pay the hospital for saving my life if I had back the money I alone have invested in all this "STUFF". Makes my head hurt.

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  3. Happy Hanukkah. To be honest I think this year many people are going a bit low key for Christmas....or is it just me? Anyway reminders of people in DC having a party doesn't exactly give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Now I'm sounding like I'm having a pity party. As I told my neighbor - It could be worse.- His reply - It could be better too.- Oh well, let's toast the New Year.

    Kathy

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  4. Beautiful pictures! Love seeing the White House all decorated for Christmas - and Bo is adorable. Have a very happy holiday season!

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  5. Happy Hanukkah, Joni. We have kosher Jewish and Christian cousins and we all love to celebrate Thanksgiving together. I had to laugh about Michelle Obama dressing like her dog as I have gotten that comment out walking my Boston Terrier in my black work out pants and white sweat shirt!

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  6. Happy Hanukkah! How did you know that was Dolly Madison?

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  7. Enjoy your holidays and have a wonderful time with your family! I for one loved your very snuggy Christmas. Happy Hannukkah!

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  8. I love seeing your family's Christmas. It looks like so much fun! I do hope you show it this year.

    Bo is just so darn cute ... in all his forms!

    Merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah to you!

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  9. Happy Hanukkah!
    OK, Joni: I think your daughter will agree with me when I say no one is too old for 8 presents.(smile)

    Here's to a fun, healthy and prosperous New Year! Cheers!

    Warmly,
    -susan

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  10. I really loved this post Joni! I was completely enthralled with every word and image. Wishing you a very Happy Hanukkah and a wonderful 2012.

    Anna :)

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  11. Happy Hanukkah,
    I love your holiday posts. Its fun to see how other families celebrate. Our family is leaving for Paris on Dec. 23--no presents and we saved our frequent flyer miles for years to do this before the kids get too old to want to spend time with the extended family. Hope we survive all staying in one small apartment.
    I love the way the White House is decorated, especially the portraits of the first ladies. Having been to the White House many times, I am so proud that the first families preserve so much of its history and furnishings. I loved Betty Ford, but can't believe she didn't love the wall paper. I am so glad that they preserved it. Peace to all.

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  12. THIS will be my favorite 'holiday' post of the entire year! Immense and amazing, Joni!

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  13. Happy Hanukkah, Joni!! I thought of you when I saw the gorgeous Hanukkah plates this year at Pottery Barn. Did you see them??

    Loved this post, particularly as I am besotted with Bo. Such a gorgeous dog. Of course, I love the Obamas... all!

    Enjoy your celebration, and don't for a second think I'm not reading!!

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  14. Only you could make a pity party so much fun!
    Saw the HGTV special on the White House decorations, and it left me lukewarm.
    You did such a wonderful job showing all these pictures and details, and made it come alive for me.
    Wishing you and Ben and Elizabeth a wonderful holiday.
    You know you are loved by many.
    xo xo

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  15. Bo! What a character epitomized in so many mediums. Porties always need to touch and feel their peeps (like in the pic where you saw him touching the first lady's foot) Love them and their energy!

    Pity party, Huney you have not one thing to pity. Beautiful girl! And please pretty please do show us the festive Christmas ranch...I for one loved it wrapped in Christmas glory. Happy Chaunuka to you and yours!! Besitos.

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  16. whoops...sorry about the mass misspelling of hannukkah. Oy.

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  17. They had a show on last night on HGTV about decorating the White Housee and it takes a whole year to finish everything.

    OK Joni stop the pity party and share some Hanukkah with us. I grew up with Christmas but also had a stepfather who was Jewish so I had the best of both worlds. It was wonderful to learn another tradition which lead me to learn about others. When we lived in NYC we had a Kosher kitchen, two stoves, two ovens, two of everything because one was Kosher. So Share! And I'd love a latke please...

    Happy Hanukkah!
    Debra

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  18. What a wonderful post! (Maybe you could send it to Sara Palin who apparently didn't like their Christmas card.)

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  19. The People's House has been beautifully decorated for Christmas, and it was wonderful to see the festive array of decoration making the importance of each historical room stand alone in it's importance.

    While I believe Americans take pride in the White House, it is time for these grifters who occupy it to leave the premises. A vacation in Hawaii costing between $3 and $4 million for the taxpayer while many cannot afford to celebrate because of joblessness, and our national debt is in the trillion of dollars is hardly something to admire or celebrate.

    Thanks for taking the time to post the lovely pictures. I was happy to see the images of other Presidents who really understood the meaning of Christmas and their duty to the country.

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  20. Yes, Bo is wonderful.
    It feels wrong to me that a Purple Heart was used for a tree ornament. The tributes to the sevicemen are great; just don't feel right about a purple heart used in this way. It could have been on a stand on a table; I thhink that would have been more respectful.
    The Hillary painting is just awful in my humble opinion. It looks like it was a first-time attempt at a portrait. It looks like a separate head glued on a body that was painted at a different time. (BY a first-grader) It is stiff, hard-edged and so amateurish. There are painters in my art class that could have done a better job than that. I almost feel sorry for her for this painting and I'm not even really a fan of hers.

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  21. Joni, I say Merry Christmas to you in the spirit of the season, and Happy Hanukkah to you for your belief. While I am sharing Christmas traditions, I for one, would love to see your Hanukkah traditions. I believe we all benefit from learning from one another and helping us each celebrate our heritage. Thank you for the beautiful post and all the happiness you have brought me this year!!

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  22. Happy Hanukkah Joni! You were brilliant to post about Bo's Christmas at the White House. I love the Obamas and seeing them with Bo celebrating Christmas is fabulous!
    Our Christmas is low key this year too. No gifts exchanged between the adults, and that is all of us now. My youngest is 22! Besides, our daughter just got married last Saturday and we've been hemorrhaging cash! So we're doing presence instead of presents!
    I hope you have a lovely Hanukkah and also a nice Christmas with your in-laws and sweet mother-in-law.
    ~Delores

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  23. Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Joni, I so enjoyed this post. It is amazing to see how different Presidents wives decorate,or maybe the Presidents. Loved Bo! He is so adorable. I love every post you do and never could I criticize someone for the way they celebrate their Christmas. Shame on the ones who did. We just had our children, grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild for the entire weekend, some staying at our son's house who lives nearby. I would not have taken anything for the joy we shared, eating their favorite foods that I prepared, and my grandaughter telling me the pecan pie was the best she has ever had, and our five year old grandaughter asking the blessing and thanking God for her cousins, opening gifts, having desserts and our son-in-law telling us all about the meaning of giving. Then we all got into five cars and went and looked at the Christmas lights that night. In Greensboro, NC they have a section of the old downtown where they have zillions of balls made from chicken wire and wrapped with lights and are tossed into the trees with potato guns. Seeing it for the first time, all I could say was OMG over and over. This is how traditions start in the family and traditions are so important. Joni,you are loved all over the world for your expertise and style and when you do a project or blog, you seem to want to do it just right.I would love to see pictures of Ben's family celebration. Judy E.

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  24. I loved this post! I'm still reading blogs during the holidays and can you believe this is the first I've seen that shows the White House this season? Great job!

    I agree with your comment that the White House shouldn't simply use the First Lady's regional interior decorator but a historical designer fully educated in history and antiques. The White House is here for centuries!

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  25. Joni, I am very sorry to hear about your Mother in Law having a stroke, please know she is now in my prayers. I am also sorry you will not be posting about your holidays at the ranch or your house because not only did I love seeing how you did your table for dinner but the Christmas post was wonderful, I loved everything everybody got especially the monogrammed snuggies. I look forward to seeing the decorations as well as the celebration. I HATE that a few bad apples will cause me to miss out on all of this. Happy holidays to you and yours thanks for a great year. MB

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  26. Joni,
    Have you heard of, "Merry Chrismukkah?" :-)
    So much of Christmas is really seasonal decor, and I think you should join the fun! Many blessings to your family as you celebrate Hanukkah, heal and have faith for the new year.
    As a DC area resident, the White House has always been a source of questionable decor, and 'too many hands in the pot' when it comes to taste. It should be decorated by The People, as it is, after all, public housing! However, it deserves respect, and you gave it a fitting post, and would never guess from your enthusiasm that you do not celebrate the Christmas season!
    I vote for Joni the official White House Special Events decorator!

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  27. Happy Hanukkah. I loved the post about the ranch Christmas. You can always have a winter holiday party.
    The White House is really done up. My daughter and her boys went on the tour yesterday and took many pictures. I agree the Kennedy's had the best taste. I don't know why they insist on those curtains. Looks like they took gold braid from every military uniform In the Pentagon!

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  28. I tweeted you about how much I loved your last big holiday post and obviously I'm not alone! Understandable that family situations are fluid, but really did adore your celebrations.

    Thank you for the lovely White House photos...you're so right that so much of the decor is dated, and not in a classic way.

    I've heard a little bit about the furnishing of the new Bush Library in Dallas and that's a juicy story in itself.

    Happy Hanukkah!

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  29. design house like the house in the kingdom

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  30. When I think of Christmas I ALWAYS think of a dog!....huh? Let me rephrase that...When I think of the "Holidays"....I think of a dog! Apparently there is nothing else noteworthy in America to honor.

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  31. Merry Christmas Joni!!! Some of us are still reading blogs at Christmas. This is a good one. The White House is beautiful and such an elegant symbol for our nation to enjoy. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family.

    Karen

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  32. For someone who did not hang more than a wreath.....the house looks great.. thanks for inviting us along.

    You mentioned the chandelier was removed to install a tree.... and some soul is busy cleaning that chandelier with the luxury of sitting down. I use to have to clean our "chandelier" before Easter.

    The depth of the back ground on these rooms added to my knowledge of history and design. This post must have taken weeks to do. Thank You.

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  33. This was so much fun, and the White House looks incredible, love that East room...Bo is a lucky little dog:) The White House is a special place to be this time of year and looks so magical and full of holiday cheer, I know lots of hands and creative minds went into making that happen but what a sight!
    Fun also to walk down memory lane with all the other presidents too.
    Wishing you a very happy holdiay!

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  34. Happy Hannukah, Joni to you and all the Webb's.
    -linda,ny
    p.s Lizzie will never be too old to get her 8 prezzies, imho!!!!

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  35. Wonderful post, love that Bo is the star at the White House! So cute. (I have a bichon ornament in one tree and a black cat in the other, representing my two pets.)

    Happy Hannukah and the best of the season to you and your family!

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  36. Melissa Allison-LeeDecember 22, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    Loved this look inside the White House, Joni. You do such a find job with your blog. I am always excited when it arrives in my inbox. Have a safe and wonderful holiday! Can't wait to see what you are planning in the new year.

    Best to you and your family!

    Melissa

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  37. It was so much fun to look at the different ways the first ladies have changed the White House decor. I agree, it should be with a decorator who has the understanding of our nations history. I visited the white house during the Clinton's era, and while I was there I went up to inspect the draperies, as I make custom draperies....there were all handstitched with the tassels trim applied by hand, the interlinings and linings...but they were rotting from age and sun exposure! They were in dreadful condition upon inspection. I love the pale blue grey damask style that Jackie used, and wish that most of the draperies were done in tone on tone or richer less garish fabrics. The china room was my favorite room, you could see each pattern that every first lady chose to be her white house china. I think one of the first ladies did not use a new china to be frugal (it may have been Rosalind Carter) but I really can't remember who it was now. Thanks for another detailed and informative post.

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  38. Happy Hannukah Joni, This was a great Christmas post and I really enjoyed it. I always enjoy reading what you think about any type of decor, Christmas decor included. Since you have such a discerning eye I think we all love to hear what you love and what you don't love. Maybe next year you could critique what you see in the magazines as tasteful or not!! I would imagine Lizzy would love to celebrate her childhood Hannukah, I know my kids still love all the Christmas traditions we had as they grew up. They still get a Christmas sock and my oldest is 39 and youngest 34!! We all need a touch of our childhood wonderment, even the parents!! Enjoy your time with Lizzy and with the rest of your family, I was so sorry to hear about Ben's mother, this year more than ever it will be important to have a wonderful family time together. Enjoy your family and Have a safe and Happy New Year, xo Kathysue

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  39. Happy Hanukkah Joni!! Woah, this is the most in depth White House Christmas post I've ever read, I loved it!

    I hope you and your family have a very wonderful Hanukkah and a lovely Christmas celebration with Bens family. And if it matters, I LOVED reading about your Christmas with his side of the family and all the lovely presents people received AND gave- it was just perfect! xx

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  40. Happy Holidays, Joni!

    Between the White House, Monticello,
    Mount Vernon and Montpelier, I think one can only go so far in trying to make it look current without losing the authenticity of the original period in time when the first owners inhabited the space. Wouldn't it be a blast to picture the White House looking like Restoration Hardware took over?!

    If you have grown or no children around for the holiday, focus on the dog! Mine has his own
    little milk bone tree. His birthday is actually 12/25, so it will be fun to see him rip into the new toys...how we entertain ourselves at middle age!

    Thank you for another year of beautiful posts...you can always change direction right now and concentrate on New Year's. Think of all the black eyed peas you can
    have (with something green, for prosperity)on the 1st!

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  41. Great informative post dear Joni! So much to comment on, not sure I can remember all my thoughts as I was reading through. First Elizabeth will never be too old for the 8 gifts! And I too remember the holiday post you write of. I loved it! Let's see, the wallpaper, I agree with you, such a shame it removed twice, come on ! I'm not crazy about Bo being in every room, but hey, I don't live there. Does the White House employ a designer on a permanent basis or is it just the new residents who have the chance to redo the family quarters? Just wondering because how on earth can some of these First Ladies get away with destroying such historical things!! haha Beth

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  42. Happy Hanukkah to you Joni and your family. I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I for one loved your Webb family Christmas post. I agree with Valorie the special was lackluster on HGTV but your post is fabulous. It made it come alive. For the naysayer about cost all of the services are donated as are much of the materials to trim the White House. Think how special it is for our service men & women with their children to experience it at so many events during the holidays. I particularly love the Bo decorations throughout the house, I am sure it delighted the children. It delighted me as an adult. I agree with you on the decor except I think I would like a mix of the old & new in the green room. The current rug and some elements are lovely. I am not an Obama fan but I love the way the first lady has put such emphasis on our servicemen & servicewomen and their families. I admire her work in this area and feel it truly comes from her heart.
    As always Joni, I truly enjoy your posts & their depth!!!!

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  43. Very interesting post, Joni. I love seeing the inside of the White House at Christmas. My favorite room is the China Room. And I loved the French blue that Jackie Kennedy used much better!

    I really enjoyed seeing Bo in the White House

    Happy Hanukkah to you and your loved ones!

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  44. This was such a "trip down memory lane" for me...working under three different Presidents I did "White House tours." "In those days" we were invited for private tours at Christmas and receptions. It was ethereal and a "pinch me" experience. Thanks for the memories. franki

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  45. Wow.. what a great collection of photos! Thank you for this. Happy Holidays!

    Sandy Muraca

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  46. Joni - First of all, Happy Hanukkah!

    And thank you for this post/gift. I am saving it to peruse after the holiday rush is over. There is way too much to take in today! I love this first family and the unofficial Bo theme is so cute - as well as heartwarming. And, I must say the emphasis on our servicemen and their families is so touching, too!

    Thank you and enjoy the rest of YOUR holiday season! Best to you and your family, Kate

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  47. Great post with such beautiful and clever decorations in the White House.
    I have an inkling,correct me if I am wrong, that some of the over-the-top curtains may have been installed by the Clinton's designer. In an effort to be polite, that is all I will say.
    I remember seeing photos of the Bushes' family quarters and Ken Blasingame, from Fort Worth, had done the private areas. His work is excellent, with a few modern elements, but there were also Fortuny pillows! I can't imagine him doing the garish color combinations.
    The Kennedy's used Billy Baldwin - the best of the best!

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  48. Happy Hannakah to you and your family and a big hug for Ben's mother. As someone who was raised (brainwashed) Christian as a child, as an adult I chose not to be one. And now that my only child is an adult, I choose no longer to participate in the commercialized Christmas. I light candles on the night of the solstice and reflect on the true changing of seasons, of the meaning of spirit and worship for me. I say this because I know that being outside that great majority, does feel like a great wall. I call that wall solitude. I thought Bo was delicious. How fitting that a White House Dog is always dressed in a tuxedo!

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  49. Happy Holidays to you, dearest Joni! Your blog is the only one I check on a daily basis. During this holiday season, I wanted to take the time to thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for design--and all things beautiful--and taking us along with you on the journey. With warmest wishes to you and your family, Ashley.

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  50. Wonderful post as always! I too saw the HGTV special on the White House decorations. They had 125 volunteers plus regular staff working
    for months to get everything ready for Christmas! I LOVED seeing the dog featured. In the special he walked around calmly
    from room to room - sniffing things and looking so well behaved.
    I agree that the White House should NOT use the First Lady's regional interior decorator but instead a historical designer
    who is educated in history and antiques.

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  51. I echo what anonymous wrote in regards to the People's House.
    Well said!

    Amen and Amen

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  52. As a native Texan now living in Virginia, I have to delurk to say that I think you're right about Jackie Kennedy, Joni. Jackie Kennedy executed the sort of understated elegance--mostly simple lines in sumptuous fabrics--that the architecture of the house requires to look its best. I'm a little saddened by the current state of the White House, which looks worse in person than in photos actually. Most of the window treatments are especially heinous, and some of the furniture could use some spiffying up as well. I keep hoping we'll get another person into the White House with a passion for design, history, architecture, etc. who will take on a major refurbishing. I know with the problems in the world that may seem trivial, but I think the White House should reflect more true elegance and grace than it does at present.

    I also want to thank you for your work on this blog. I am about halfway through refurbishing my own house, and it wouldn't look nearly as great as it does were it not for you. I have learned so much about the basic principles of design here and, with the help of a handy husband and some great auction finds, have been able to stretch a very modest budget a very long way. Thanks again!

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  53. There are nearly more part time jobs in Sydney than permanent ones. Tourists and backpackers can take advantage of seasonal work to pay their way around the country and have fun at the same time.


    Part-Time Jobs in Sydney

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  54. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season! I enjoyed this post very much. Coincidentally, I recently bought a magazine published by the Southern Lady magazine about the White House Christmases over the years. I am glad to know about this book, because I would like to have that, too.

    I have to agree about the need for someone like Mario Buatta to redecorate the White House. There have been some unfortunate design decisions made over the years. And let's be honest: ALL the First Ladies did not have Mrs. Kennedy's style, taste or knowledge about furnishings and antiques! The book about Sister Parish which was recently published provided some inside dish on the subject. Mrs. Parish was put out about the French designer Jackie brought in to collaborate!

    ETS

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  55. Lovely post! Stopped me in my tracks to see the whole thing.
    In these contentious times, you prsented it all so sweetly, thank you!
    Didn't have time to read all the comments, I'll be back later.
    Happy Hanukka and Merry Christmas from me.

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  56. Wonderful post. Thank you! I also enjoyed the Webb Family Christmas post last year. Thank you for that one as well.

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  57. Wonderful post! I always enjoy your posts and this was most interesting. Thank you and Happy Hanukkah to you and your family.

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  58. Dearest Joni,

    What a poignant post. My heart goes out to you and the entire Webb family. I wish you all of the joy of the season, but especially, I wish you a heart full of peace and love. Happy Hanukah.

    Kindest love,
    EF

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  59. Hi Joni ! I enjoy your posts all year long and thank you for that. I am one of the selfish and constantly behind who read all hard work that others do but do not maintain a design blog myself. I am so very grateful to you and the others for all you share and the joy you bring.This was a spectacular post and I find that I DO read blogs a TON at the holidays. It is my escape and incentive for getting various tasks done :) Happy 2012

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  60. I don't know what I enjoyed most... the window treatments or the dog ! Thanks for all the wonderful photos, hope you enjoy your holidays.

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  61. Thank you for another great post Joni. I can relate to you when you say this time of year is saturated with things you just cannot participate in. My husband and I stopped celebrating Christmas a few years ago, and it seems as though every year come the start of October Christmas seems to be more and more over the top. I think it started when my husband was researching the origins of Christmas, and found that it had nothing to do with Christ what so ever. Not only did it have nothing to do with Yeshua, it honored (not one) but a smorgasbord of false Gods all on the 25 of December. For many people, it wouldn't bother them, but for us, that was the tipping point for us to abandon it all together.

    My husband did up a small video on You tube about the origins, that helps explain what is behind this holiday.....

    Proof That Jesus Christ Was NOT Born On December 25th - ttp://youtu.be/f5ozUNbo8F4

    The Christmas Conspiracy: The Pagan Origins Of Christmas-
    http://youtu.be/t08r4aMuOUE

    Here is the very interesting part that we found...

    In the Bible it does tell us about festivals that Yahweh tells us to keep. (I was shocked to learn that there were holidays already set up that we should be keeping, yet through the many years of attending church, I never heard one peep about them) There are 7 festivals in Leviticus that we are commanded to keep. Not only do they cost NOTHING to keep, they are all prophecies on their own. For thousands of years, the children of Yahweh would keep these 7 festivals year after year, and it is very interesting to note that each holiday corresponds with a date in the future in which a powerful prophecy will be fulfilled. Take for example the Feast of Tabernackles. For thousands of years the children of Yahweh were instructed in the Torah to dwell in tents on this very day. For about a thousand years they set up tents in the Jerusalem area on the start of this festival every year. Would it shock you to know that Yeshua was born on this very festival 5 miles out of Jerusalem in a temporary humble structure? We were told what to look for all along, and on the very day.

    http://shofarhorn.com/archives/pagan-christmas

    Was it any coincidence that Yeshua was being led out the city as the passover lambs were being led into the city for slaughter? He fulfilled passover as being the ultimate sacrifice. One of the most interesting feasts has yet to be fulfilled. Rosh Hashanah, or Feast of Trumpets is when Yeshua returns. Just like the children dwelling in tents (possibly not knowing why they were to do this) the church it self is again in confusion when Yeshua will return. The missing keys is that they haven't kept the Torah, because the feasts and festivals is when Yahweh does all the most terrific events in history. If we kept the festivals then we would clue into blowing of the shofar, and the return of Yeshua.

    Check out this video that explains this well.

    http://youtu.be/9L68pWge-gI

    Did God Intend For Jews And Christians To Have Different Religions?http://shofarhorn.com/archives/did-god-intend-for-jews-and-christians-to-have-different-religions

    The point of my long comment is that all along the Jews and the Christians would have been celebrating the same holidays. Yet, somewhere down the line, the Christians began celebrating pagan holidays with wreaths and trees. Christmas has only been in America for the last hundred years. It is a very new festival. Year after year they have built on it, blowing it up to be a massive event. It is amazing how many hundreds of people on facebook who are messianic and Christian are abandoning Christmas all together. As large as the numbers are who celebrate Christmas, we are seeing an ever growing population now go back to the Leviticus festivals. It is certainly interesting all together. I normally don't leave comments, but I thought what you mentioned sparked some thoughts that I should mention. As usual, your posts are terrific Joni!! Huge Blessings my friend to you and your family!! Meranda

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  62. This is just amazing...That just makes me feel so much into the Christmas spirit and family gatherings!

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  63. Thanks for such an extensive post on the White House at Christmas. I've never been and it looks like a wonderful time to take the tour. The decorations are gorgeous and I loved all the Boes (sp?). As for rooms needing redecorating -- can you imagine the stink if the Obamas took that on now? Do you not remember all the flack they got when Obama redecorated the Oval Office? Even if all the materials were donated, critics would have a field day, especially with so many people in this economy struggling. Alas, the era when Jackie Kennedy could take on a major overhaul of the White House decor is long gone. Everything is over-politicized. And I agree, her taste was exquisite. Have a Happy Hanukkah and enjoy your family in this joyous season.

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  64. Thank you for providing the pics of so many of the White House rooms. The decorations were fabulous....love the Bo theme carried out. The White House should be beautifully decorated for the holidays, as it has been done through many administrations.

    The curtains throughout are certainly not what I could live with, but they are historically correct, as are the colors. I think we have to give the designer, whoever he/she was credit for this, especially if they were envisioning how the house may have looked in the late empire to early victorian period.

    I would also love to see the Zuber paper replaced in the small dining room...I like to think I had a bit to do with it being reinstalled during the Carter period since I mentioned it to their decorator soon after the inaugration.

    Keep up the good work, I love your blog. Gayle

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  65. Joni,

    Thank you for taking so much time to put together this post. I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law and hope she is doing well enough to partake in the festivities at your sister-in-laws Christmas event. I am also sorry that you "inviting us in" to your in-laws event a couple of years ago ended up making you a target for others negativity. I am always dismayed when I read that a design blogger is criticized for the tenor of a blog post. While I understand everyone can disagree on specific design elements or overall aesthetics, I don't understand why bloggers get bashed for sharing whatever it is they are writing about. Other bloggers I follow have been criticized for expressing gratitude for their blessings. It's not that they were being boastful -- they were just in a place of deep appreciation for whatever good thing was going on in their life. I don't know why others choose to take pot shots at them -- there's always the option of just not reading the blog if you don't like what's being said. After all, design bloggers aren't inciting a civil war or a national uprising, they're usually just talking design.

    I really enjoyed the Christmas post you did two years ago and appreciate that you shared something so personal. While I could never pull off something so grand, I got some good ideas I can incorporate into my own holiday. After all, isn't that really what design blogs are about -- to inspire us?

    I enjoyed this post as well and appreciate all the photos of the different rooms, at different times. And while I know not everyone is a fan of the Obamas (someone previously called them "grifters"), I think they are a wonderful First Family.

    I hope you, your husband and your daughter (and the pups!) have wonderful holidays together (you get to celebrate two!). You are blessed, and that's a good thing, no matter how the naysayers want to spin it.

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  66. Dear Joni,

    For someone who has difficulty writing a post for the holidays, this was a wonderful one to read. I loved the Bo theme. The Obamas have a talent for making the White House friendly for children and adults. I really appreciated the focus on military families. I am with you on Jackie Kennedy's decor. Some of the beautiful chandeliers that have been replaced! Why? For sure the Obamas could not take on a major refurbishment like Jackie Kennedy in these times. But if they could, I second Joni for White House designer!

    Best wishes for the holidays to you and your extended family. I'm looking forward to your first post of 2012.


    Jane

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  67. Your blog knocks my socks off. I can't imagine how you do it. Picture after picture, comments, observations, opinions. You put so much of YOU into the blog. Its no wonder you have such a following and I'm delighted to be among that group. Thanks so much for your efforts. I appreciate the time and talent it takes to continue putting so much into your blog. You are just peerless. Hats off to you. Ann

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  68. Your blog knocks my socks off. I can't imagine how you do it. Picture after picture, comments, observations, opinions. You put so much of YOU into the blog. Its no wonder you have such a following and I'm delighted to be among that group. Thanks so much for your efforts. I appreciate the time and talent it takes to continue putting so much into your blog. You are just peerless. Hats off to you. Ann

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  69. Appreciate, as always, your eye for beauty and for celebrating the magic that still shines in Christmas 2011. I don't appreciate the naysayers who dump all over the current administration and are so quick to judge and criticize. I say to those readers, Let the wonder of Christmas touch your hearts and pull in your claws.

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  70. Dear Joni,
    It tooks me about a half an hour to open this post but I so enjoyed it!! You bring us always the most amazing and surprising post! That is why I really want to thank you for all of your work you always put in your blogposts, blogposts to please all of us, your readers!
    You are incredible!
    Thank you Joni from the bottom of your heart! You are to me the 'first lady' of blogland!
    I wish you and your family a wonderful end of this year and a Happy, Healthy and Succesful 2012!
    Warmly,
    xxxxx
    Greet

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  71. It is me again Joni! Of course I wanted to say : ...from the bottom of my hearr!" Haha! I had a glass of champagne this evening!
    Hugs,
    Greet

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  72. I may be mistaken but I think Jackie Kennedy got a lot of things donated when she re-did the White House and a lot of private money was donated for this as well. Anyone else know? It seems I read that years ago when I read a book on Jackie K.

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  73. There is a trust to take care of the interior of the White House. It was started during the Kennedy 's time. The outside is taking care of by congress. Congress does give so much each year to help keep the interior up and re do the private rooms when a new administration takes over.Jackie was a big force in getting things done at the White House. She got back treasures that were lost, redid a lot, got the first curator and made the trust which gives money to do things and keep things up. She got millions in private donations. Before her there was no rules about getting rid of treasures from the past.Each new First Lady does her part, and yes, she can change things, after the curator and the trust group improve. The White H ouse has been there for many years. it has gone through many changes. Jackie, liked French, and where she did good, she often made the American house look a little French. The Blue room she did was lovely, but, if you would do research, going back to the day the White House was built, the curtains that are there now are much more exact. If that is what they are going for, if you want it to be elegant and more 21 century, I could see where you think they are bad. I for one, love them. The red room was never red when the house was first built, it only had red covered furniture. but, if it had been red, I would assure you, it would have been bright. Color was a new thing and Americans like to show off. Washington's Mount Vernon, has a Bright Green Parlor that would make you faint, but it is the proven original color. If you are to call a room red, why not make it red? Again I love it.
    The Christmas decorations are mostly done by people who give of there time. Very little labor is paid, except for White House carpenters, pastry chefs and so forth. HGTV did a special and they gave a big hunk of money to pay for the decorations. I like some of the concepts of this years decorations, but I thought they were all over the place. The general military theme was good, but very little else worked. I never saw so many plastic ornaments in my life, I'd say. do with out, before you put plastic ornaments in the White House. I thought the East Room looked like the Washington Botanical Gardens, not the Home of the President of the United States.
    I could have done with a little less, and have done a little better with what they had done. I didn't get the different Bo trees? And those tin can trees made me barf. I did get the concept, but, not there, not in the White House.
    That's my voice, and I am sticking with it. Richard from My Old Historic House.

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  74. Joni - I think you ought to pick up a bunch of lighted Christmas trees when they go on sale and next Thanksgiving fill your back courtyard with lighted trees. Tell folks you're celebrating a "Festival of Lights" which spans all religious beliefs. YOu bring such joy to so many people - I'm always excited to see a new post! I wish you all the best in 2012 and keep the fantastic blogs coming!

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  75. Happy Hannukah!I loved this post! And yes, we are reading your blog.

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  76. A couple weeks ago I explored a White House archives on my blog, with historical photos, nothing like a good remodel and I always enjoy the decor there! I love the levity of the pup however as part of a military family, I'm reluctant to be excited about this "theme" but a wonderful post, chag sameach! By the bye, I have had friends work for this and previous administrations in the White House and I seem to recall hearing that Bush made the kitchen kosher while he was there as well so it seems to be a tradition, particularly around Passover.

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  77. This was a wonderful post; I learned so much! Enjoy the Holidays with your family and thanks for a years worth of enjoyable reading!

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  78. Enjoyed seeing our First Family and their White House Christmas.
    So proud to be an American with President Obama as our leader.
    Wishing you a very Happy Hanukkah Joni, and all the best in the New Year!

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  79. Love it! As someone who celebrates Channukah, it's easy to feel a bit left out this time of year. Your Bo-tiful post was just the tonic I needed to get me smiling again.

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  80. I so enjoyed this post, Joni! Loved all the gorgeous photographs. Personally, I thought your family holiday post was great. I like to see how other families celebrate!

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

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  81. As stated upstream, it is funny that this White House is celebrating a dog for Christmas. How fitting unless of course the White House had chosen a den of serpents.

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  82. A dog is "how fitting"? I detect a note of nastiness in that remark. I loved dogs - what the hell do you mean?

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  83. Hi Joni, I was one of the volunteers that decorated the White House this year. One of my rooms was the Vermeil room. Yes, the curtains in that room are exquisite, the trim is amazing. The ladies restroom off that room has the most gorgeous Graci wallpaper and Sheraton sideboard. The first Ladies portraits are breathtaking up close, my favorite is Jackie.

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  84. Happy hanukkah so enjoyed your pity party

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  85. Happy Hanukkah Miss Joni!
    No pity party....your heart is what matters. Do what you want to do and forget about the haters, they will always be there, AS WELL AS those that appreciate you for you!
    Blessings to you, enjoy your family and plan something fun for 2012! You always have a place in GA!!!
    xx

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  86. It is a shame anonymous has to be nasty towards the First Family, especially this time of year. Good grief, I guess some people cannot escape partisanship, even in a design blog!

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  87. I always enjoy your posts, in fact, I thought the one around Christmas time 2 years ago was great fun. I certainly enjoy learning about new and different ways to decorate, even if it's not up my alley. Question? How do I search for a specific topic? I cannot find a search option other than just archives by the month and year. I am searching for posts about Paris, I remember some great ones and am trying to plan a trip. Help please?
    Christine

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  88. Joni, you've outdone yourself. I loved this post. Exquisite images, all of them. Bo is a little doll.

    Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!
    xo Terri

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  89. Thanks for this beautiful post and Happy Hanukkah to you. I love your website!

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  90. Happy Hollydays to you Joni!know you put in hours and hours on this blog.
    though, I am underwhelmed with the Obama Christmas. Talk about over the top, far reaching, and uppity!
    In these times why cant they bring it down a notch. It wasnt homey at all. it was so overplayed, so "well arent we important" gaudy mess.
    Just saying.
    I loved your Christmas post last year! Now talk about real, heartfelt, and inspiring! Cant believe anyone would criticize it.
    Also i believe ANYONE! can celebrate the holidays. So hang that wreathe, fill the house with white flowers and paperwhites, break out all your nuetrals and layer,layer,layer!Tie bows on your potted boxwood topiaries.
    And bring in a real evergreen tree and tie it up with bows too!!
    After all, tis the season to join hands, hang with family and friends, and share our love and appreciation for one another.
    Oh yeah, and eat too much!
    Mela

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  91. Joni,
    Your post two years ago was beautiful. It spoke of a family that is open and welcoming to everyone, kudos to you for being open to traditions, cultures, and personalities, and making it sound like so much fun!
    Happy holidays to you and your family -wishing you health, happiness, and prosperity.

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  92. I am sorry to hear that you had so many negative comments on your Webb Christmas post. I was taught if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. It would be nice if everyone could remember to do unto others, especially at this time of year. Happy Hanukkah and New Year to you! Thank you so much for your blog - it has been the gift that keeps on giving for me this year.

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  93. Joni

    Haven't been looking at blogs but had to look at yours. Loved seeing pictures of your family celebrations last year. Too bad about those that criticize, they are defining themselves, no one else. Hopefully they will have learned graciousness in their next life.
    Hope you have a happy healthy Holiday Season with your wonderful family.

    Janice

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  94. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog entry! I found your blog by chance this morning but I will be back. Happy Holidays.

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  95. Dear Joni - you have a beautifully written blog! Happy Hanukkah to you and a great 2012! Beautiful White House photos!!

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  96. Bow, Wow, what lovely pictures of the White House and so out of context with the "doggie theme". I suppose when you are not Christian or Jewish, any dog will do.

    Were we to have a Jewish President, as I hope we will some day, I suspect that he/she would be sensitive to all faiths. With the current administration that insists on apologizing all over the planet for the success of America, it has come down to the dogs that now define how we celebrate. Perhaps having sat in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years has caused a bit of brain freeze about what the holiday is all about. After all, GD America isn't on most Christmas cards. Carry on the folly, Mr. President. You and yours have fooled no one. By the way, you would think after walking Bo for nearly four years, there would be a little less steak on that flank of at least one member of the household.

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  97. Joni,

    Thanks for your post and blog. Intrigued I googled your other holiday post you mentioned of several years ago. I enjoyed reading it and the comments. I think one thing that blog postings and comments show in years to come...a scrapbook/running commentery of what was happening around the world, how the world responded and more specifically how specific pockets and demographics interpreted/synthesized/reacted to the events.

    It was so interesting to read the comments of two years ago...think back to what was happening at the time...and where I was at the time.

    Thanks for all the time and effort devoted to your blog. It is an enjoyable read when I am looking for a diversion.

    Happy Holidays Joni....

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  98. Thank you for the tour and the history lesson. I enjoyed it so much!

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  99. Happy Hanukkah Joni.

    I am so sorry to hear about your Mother in Law.

    Any post you do is golden.

    I would love to see the ranch done up for Christmas again. I downsized this year. We are so laid back, this Christmas, that we are spending the holiday at the lake and wondering why we haven't done this before!

    I enjoyed this post so very much. I have Jennifer Pickens' beautiful book because I read about it here at Cote de Texas.

    Wishing you and your family all the best for 2012.

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  100. Hello,

    The Zuber wallpaper in the First Family's dining room is intact under fabric panels. It has never been removed since its installation in the 1960s. It continues to be covered with fabric.

    The draperies in the State Floor rooms are based on historical examples appropriate to the era of the furnishings in the rooms. The colors in the Kennedy era photographs look more muted, I suspect, because of the fading of the color in the photos.

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  101. I remember that post you did from a few years back. I couldn't believe that so many people got so irked on Christmas nonetheless!

    Well that is the past, this is the present. I hope all of the are in a better mood this year. :-)

    Love this holiday post. I think the first family is just darling as is Bo. Thank you for pulling this fabulous post together.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family Joni! Hope you have a wonderful Hannukah/Christmas.

    xo
    COCO
    COCOCOZY

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  102. Dear anon!

    Thanks for the info on the wallpaper. That is really interesting. I understand about the curtains, the green room curtains were initially designed under Nixon using photographs from that era. Still, I think they and the red room curtains are horrid and could be fabulous. IMO.

    The white house museum site states that the colors that mrs Kennedy used were much more muted than those that are there today.

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  103. Wow!!!! Great comments from everyone!!! Thanks so very very much for your good wishes!!!!!!!!!

    We are trying to get off to the ranch. Wish us luck! It's freezing and pouring!


    Happy happy and merry merry!!!

    Xxxxx

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  104. OH my thank you for the tour..just amazing..I love it all..and the paintings of the first ladies..I didnt know..how wonderful
    Thank you soooo much..Merry christmas

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  105. Joni - firstly I don't agree with your statement that no-one reads blogs at Christmas. I certainly do! I'm an Atheist (ex-Catholic).

    I agree re: the White House curtains. They look tacky, dated and very 1980's. I prefer the Jackie Kennedy 60's curtains and decor which were grand but very plain and elegant.

    I adored all of the Bo's. That dog is so damned perfect he looks fake!

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  106. First of all, Happy Chanukah!! I wish you love, joy, and blessings. Only an evergreen scented candle? SERIOUSLY?!! We're all going to descend on your house next year with Chrismukah decorations! ;-)

    I enjoyed the White House pics and I agree, it's time for an update. I think they should hire someone fun like Mary McDonald to do it. Someone who won't be afraid to bring in some animal prints and lucite here and there. ;-)

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  107. Joni, please do not keep me in suspense! Please show the Webb family Christmas from two years ago!

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  108. Joni! Merry Christmas...happy holidays...merry large Webb family gathering and college girl home for a visit! Hope you have a wonderful time with all the trimmings. Thanks for so many years (!!!) of great design blogging! XO Trish

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  109. Great post! We learn so much from the White House. The history really is fun.
    Our son is named Bo, so I loved reading his name over and over. Bo is his nickname (short for Robert), but I still love the name. Yes, it is a popular dog name. Our daughter, Molly, also has a popular dog name. I just like to say that we save these great names for people....:).
    Happy Hanukkah, Joni! Keep shining!

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  110. I have been following your blog for a couple of years and never left a comment. I saw the Christmas post back then with your extended family. I thought it was beautiful. The way everyone blessed each other was truly wonderful. I'm sorry you received so many horrible comments. I think it's so awesome to see a family with so much love and generosity towards one another. I don't blame you for not wanting to open up yourself to all the comments. Loved your story about the White House, beautiful.

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  111. Anonymous Dec. 23 @ 8:36 PM, you have been watching too much Fox "news."

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  112. Every post you 'give birth to' is incredible to me. I never tire of your voice and opinions. I enjoy your ideas and knowledge. You are a great friend to many - we look forward to all you do. Wishing you a wonderful 2012 my dear friend. Thank you for such a refreshing post. Nobody does it like Joni! Hugs! PFXO (P.S. You know me.....I noticed Michelle's polka dot hose! Amazing...and she looks amazing!)

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  113. LuvWheaties, Orange County, CA explains quite a lot regarding your post. You need to move to a spot where the water is cleaner, the air a little purer and perhaps the thinking a bit clearer. Enough said, my dear.

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  114. Thank you for this amazing post. Love all the White House pics. Has inspired me to get a trip planned to take Lucy next year. Hope you have a great 2012.

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  115. If the Child is the "father" of the man-- then childhood memories of a holiday vs adults embracing a holiday and making the season their own well --then vs now. Certainly it boils down to peace love and joy. building from that add some music add some tasty special foods, gathering friends that are dear to us will be near to us once more and as Sting says Fa lala Fa lala lalalal (apologies to Jimmy Fallon and Michael Buble)

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  116. I love the way the Obamas decorated the White House for the holidays and I totally agree with you: Bo is the real star of the show in that house! This post totally makes me wonder how the interior design students at FIDM would decorate the White House . . . pretty cool :)

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  117. I am underwhelmed with the Obama Christmas. Talk about over the top, far reaching, and uppity!

    Really, Mela--you think the black president is "uppity"?

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  118. Hi! Just got home from holiday at my daughter's home and decided to relax and check out my favorite blogs. The White House is so special but I entirely agree - new updated window treatments are so needed! I cannot stand all of those period swag things in those colors! So many great pieces to work with, too - that would be fun! Mrs, Obama looked smashing in the black dress, showing the kids around the White House - what a experience for them - she is looking great. I am so touched by the big tree honoring our service men and women - my son is in the Army (major head trip for me though!) - so proud! anyway, fun post - love your blog, Joni. By the way, I thought a long time ago - you should write a book...you really should. I noticed some blogger books at Barnes Noble...yours would be so great..do it!

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  119. Beautiful post. I love both the images and the commentary. All politics aside the Obama's seem like a very wonderful family and truly good people. Being a dog owner myself I love how much Bo is put in the spotlight. Dog's truly love unconditionally and really become an important part of the family. Wonderful Holiday post!

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  120. Loved seeing these pictures of the White House. I took my husband and girls there for their first visit this fall. It was my first time since 1975! Went back to see it this fall for the first time since 1975! I felt so proud of our country!
    This is an important place in our history as well as the "face" of our country and president. It should look elegant, gorgeous and uniquely American.
    When my family, friends and I toured it; I asked my friend, “Was it as amazing as I think it is?” Yes! We agreed we were proud of the White House and found it to be a very amazing place not only because of how it looked but also because of all it represents! Totally American with many unique historical objects from other administrations. We could not think of another country leader's home who stood for so much and was open to be visited by ordinary citizens. Having lived overseas for years off and on I can tell you all the details pale as one considers what actually goes on there today and all it represents from our history!
    As to my opinion of the decor, curtains and other decorating details they should always reflect the history of the place. As a young lady I love Jackie K. She was a lady and graceful with exquisite taste. The fact that she resorted the White House makes her legacy as a First Lady! Repairs and upkeep had always been tough for the first families through the years. The old photos are a reminder that the First Families actually lived and used those rooms. In fact the tour was less extensive that previous years.
    As an amateur historian who loves American history and all things of the White House; I must say I believe the curtains and decor are true to earlier periods of history. I loved it and thought the curtains were stunning and even comments on how much I loved them. All a matter of taste.
    The fact that each room was ready to switch over for an event after hundreds coming through was just more one conformation this is a house that is living history and open!
    The Christmas decorations this year were underwhelming for me. Bo in every room as a focus? Really did not like that. The aluminum cans ...please, could not someone have come up with another way to show recycling??? Yet it is their home as well. So she may not like some of my decorations!
    As to finances, lots of donations. Have you given? This is an important place in our history as well as the "face" of our country and president. It should look elegant, gorgeous and uniquely American. The politics of who is currently the president are not part of this particular discussion. I was sorry to see those posts.
    All that is to say when I went through it with our friends we both agreed we were proud of the White House and found it to be a very amazing place! Thank you for all the pictures and comments!

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  121. One of my favorite posts of the year Joni! You are really the master at blogging - always able to pull something special out of your hat! This is really entertaining!
    Thanks for taking the time!
    Happy Hanukkah to you!
    Jan
    PS My daughter tells me you should only use a few exclamation points in your lifetime if used correctly.. That obviously doesn't sit well with me as I look back at my comment!!

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  122. Anon. 12/26/11 4:26, I was taking bets to see how long before some left wing conspiracy nut would pull out the race card.

    "uppity" happens to be a word commonly used to describe those who are self aggrandizing.

    Now crawl back into your MSNBC cave, have a latte with Mika and Joe and see if you can find a more legitimate complaint other than "uppity".

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  123. Love your blog, your White House info was great....sorry for the folks that feel they must be negative....one of the nice things about our country is "choice"..one can choose which blogs to read, and which to not click on....blessings....

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  124. Joni,
    Loved the entire thing, but please go back and delete some of the vicious political comments. I don't understand the level of hate voiced, especially at this season. You do a wonderful thing by sharing with all of us and a few anon commenters take it down to their Fox inspired level.
    Sue

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  125. Happy Hanukkah! This is a wonderful post. I must say I far prefer the softer, prettier decor of the Kennedy's. A room should not smack you in the face the minute you walk into it! I also agree that they should hire professionals to decorate the White House, it is a historical sight, there should be rules governing changes. Perhaps there are, I wouldn't know.
    It was interesting to see the photos of the Obama's Christmas.
    I hope you are enjoying your day.
    Hugs, Cindy

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  126. I feel you- I'm Jewish too so i felt a bit left out these past few weeks...but my hubby's family is not so I do do xmas with them...but it's not the same because it's not really mine, you know?
    http://www.saysskippy.blogspot.com

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  127. Hello Sue, wake up baby. No one here is inspired by Fox. If one is intelligent enough to open one's eyes, one does not need a television network to act as a "seeing eye dog" (no dog pun intended considering that our beloved Bo is the center of this year's White House Christmas - how pathetic). You can always tell when the libs get their ire up because they almost always invoke the name of Fox News - also pathetic.

    I happen to think the White House looks beautiful, including the tribute to Bo. I just don't happen to believe Bo should be front and center during the Christmas holiday, but given the competence of this President, Bo most probably was front and center at the G20 conference. As to all the hype of having current design icons redo the White House, I believe it is best left in the hands of those who have spent their careers working as curators for the White House collection and working with design firms of national and international prominence to retain the historical and architectural integrity of the White House's design and decor. I highly doubt that Michael Smith is up for the task, nor any current hot designers popping off the pages of Elle Decor. Now go back to watching your little stud muffin Chris Matthews on Hard Ball (definitely no pun intended since Chris probably doesn't have any).

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  128. Thanks for this post and all the great ones you make all year long.. I enjoy your blog so much. You work hard and it shows Cote de Texas is a treasure.

    Sitting here reading all the comments and shaking my head. One thing jumped out the poster who called the first family "uppity"? Use of that word says more about that poster than anyone else. Why not use the dog people? He is a cute and harmless. I guess some think he is a "liberal" dog? Give me a break... as for the $4 million dollar vacation..most of the $4 million is for Air Force one... doesn't matter if you fly it to Crawford TX or Hawaii (fyi it is part of the U.S.A,) I guess some of your posters would have the President fly Air Tran and sit in the last row
    Happy 2012 election year it is going to be just awful with all the craziness in the land

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  129. Cupcake, most of us are aware that Hawaii is in the U.S. The vacation is $4million plus which includes housing for staff, secret, service,an entourage of family members, the First Lady's staff, a separate plane which MO and the children flew out and then of course the costs of firing up Air Force One. I suspect that one can fly Air Force One to Crawford from DC a lot cheaper than to Hawaii, but if you insist that Hawaii and Crawford are the same distance from DC, I will accept your ignorance for the sake of argument. I don't begrudge any President vacation time nor time spent with family. I do think, however, when a President tells the American people how lazy they are and then shows up on the golf course the next day after spending taxpayer dollars to get there, it's a bit of a stretch especially in the economic times in which we are living. True leaders lead by example. Many of us are waiting on BO to set one.

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  130. Joni, Although this post is lovely..I would much rather see how the Cohen family Christmas turns out.. I remember your post and all the lovely images. Here's wishing you and yours a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!

    Ivy...

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  131. Joni
    Once again the haters come out... be it over politics or your choice of what to share on YOUR blog.
    This isn't a political blog.. those of you who can't stand the Obama's but love that Bushie put us into a war that wasn't justified and spent how any weekends on vacay in Texas??? just go read other blogs.
    Thanks Joni as always!!

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  132. the family pay for their housing on holiday it is a matter of pubic record

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  133. The "grifters in chief" pay for very little. As for the Bushies, I don't agree with the Iraq invasion and time spent on people who have no interest in freedom or our form of government. It was a total waste of resources, and most importantly, a waste of lives. I am no Bushie fan, but the Obamas are the biggest rednecks we have had to date occupy the White House. When they go on vacation, every aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. tags along on the taxpayer's dime so these people can have a vacation that most Americans can only dream of. If you can't understand that leadership requires a different formula, I feel sorry for you. This is no longer about George Bush. Obama now owns this failed economy and this failed administration. Mim, as for reading other blogs, it seems taking your own advice would be in order since you are sorely out of touch with the facts.

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  134. In addition, Mim, for the record, this affirmative action President and his affirmative action wife have achieved "nothing" on their own if you take the time to read their history. Why don't you ask yourself why BO never published an article in the Harvard Law Review or why MO suddenly got a job at the University of Chicago Medical Center at $300,000 a year when Bo was elected US Senator only to have that position dispensed with when he was elected President. I suggest you get your silly, idiotic head out of the sand for a moment and do your own research and try not to be intoxicated by the beautiful pictures posted on this web site of the White House at Christmas. Even a pig looks good wearing a little lipstick. Does that sound familiar????

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  135. Thank you for this wonderful post on Bo and the Obama family. It was just beautiful. Good job!

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  136. The white house looks spectacular? All through history, wonder what it looked like before the british burned it down in 1812.

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  137. Its really great stunning post...thanks for sharing..!! Plastic cards


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  138. Thank you for this wonderful post on Bo and the Obama family..

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  139. The Kennedy Blue Room is my favorite. Jackie had good taste.

    Shame about the removal of the civil war antique wallpaper in the dining room.

    While attractive at Christmas, otherwise the White House looks to me like a third rate tacky hotel inside that originally had delusions of grandeur.
    Maybe it is sacrilege for me to say that, but the Obamas have zero taste in my personal opinion.
    I'd expect this at an old hotel. Uninspired, just ordinary, from the hideous red carpets shown in a previous post n the hallways, to the drapes with the gold accents now in the blue room, and garish rugs in the green room.

    The best thing about the White House today is Bo.

    Normally i usually leave comments talking about what I love, so this is a departure for me.

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