See What The Last Obama White House Holiday Decorations Look Like Volunteers started working the day after Thanksgiving to give the White House its annual holiday charm.
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For The Holidays, The Obamas Open Up The White House One Last Time

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For The Holidays, The Obamas Open Up The White House One Last Time

For The Holidays, The Obamas Open Up The White House One Last Time

For The Holidays, The Obamas Open Up The White House One Last Time

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504044509/504322139" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Four days. 92 volunteers. And 150 pounds of gingerbread.

That's just part of what goes into decorating for the White House for Christmas.

Volunteers went to work the day after Thanksgiving, stringing thousands of bow ribbons and crystal ornaments throughout the mansion. Military families got a sneak peak at the decorations this week.

"As we celebrate my family's last holiday season in the White House, I'm thinking back to when we first came here to Washington and we promised to open up this house to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "We truly wanted to make the White House the 'People's House,' particularly during the holiday seasons."

A variety of ornaments and decorations hang throughout the house. Most of the decoration designs this year use repurposed ornaments and embellishments that were already part of the White House holiday inventory. Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

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Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

A variety of ornaments and decorations hang throughout the house. Most of the decoration designs this year use repurposed ornaments and embellishments that were already part of the White House holiday inventory.

Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

"This is something I've always thought about doing," said Diane Wright, who traveled from Watertown, Connecticut to join the decorating party. "I do my mom's tree for her, so it was more or less a tribute to my mother."

Some of the volunteers are expert crafters. Others said they merely follow directions well.

"Somebody has to be on the ladder. Somebody has to be hanging. Somebody has to be holding something," said self-described "worker bee" Julie Byrne. "You're always a member of something bigger."

This year's White House Gingerbread House is made with 150 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of bread dough, 20 pounds of gum paste, 20 pounds of icing and 20 pounds of sculpted sugar pieces. It also features both the East and West Wings. Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

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Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

This year's White House Gingerbread House is made with 150 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of bread dough, 20 pounds of gum paste, 20 pounds of icing and 20 pounds of sculpted sugar pieces. It also features both the East and West Wings.

Raquel Zaldivar/NPR