First Lady Jill Biden White House Christmas decorations showcase joy, wonder and magic

ByCheryl Burton and Blanca Rios WLS logo
Monday, December 25, 2023
Jill Biden shows off this year's White House Christmas decorations
First Lady Jill Biden's White House Christmas decorations for 2023 follow the theme of joy, wonder and magic. She gave ABC7 an exclusive tour.

WASHINGTON (WLS) -- First Lady Dr. Jill Biden gave ABC7 an exclusive tour of the 2023 White House Christmas decorations.

Guests enter the East Wing House to all the grandeur and magnificence of tinseled twinkling lights and trees.

The halls are all decked with decorations in anticipation of the holidays. Each room celebrates a different motif inspired by this year's theme: joy, wonder and magic.

It's a time-honored tradition for U.S. first ladies to pick the holiday décor theme and Dr. Biden said this year it's all about embracing your inner child.

"I wanted to honor children and so I wanted them to walk into the people's house and feel a part of it," she said. "I wanted all kids, whether they're five and seven or your kid-at-heart at age 35, to feel that magic, wonder and joy of the season."

And part of that joy is family and tradition.

"On Christmas Eve, we always have spaghetti and meatballs, always. And I had that growing up. And Joe did, too," Biden said. "I always put a orange in the stocking because it's a tradition for my grandmother, because she grew up during the Depression and the orange was a fruit and was rare. So it was really special to get a piece of fruit."

A teacher at heart, Dr. Biden said she and her own children always made their tree ornaments.

"I still have them to this day. So I did that as a child and then my kids did it. And so I kept everything all these years," said Biden.

During their exclusive one-on-one interview, ABC7's Cheryl Burton and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden bonded over both their time as teachers.

A Gold Star tree is also on display. Each star is engraved with the names of fallen service members. Their family and children helped decorate the tree.

"It's just amazing to see the drawings from military children all over our country. And we try to honor military families here at the White House, especially military children," said Biden.

And back this year for the first time in 43 years, children from families with service members get to enjoy another holiday tradition.

The first lady wanted to relive some of her childhood memories so she brought back a holiday tradition that hadn't been here since 1980: ice skating on the south lawn

"When I was a kid, we went skating all the time. After school, we'd go to a lake near our house and all the kids would skate. And so it's just one of my memories. And I hope that it's beautiful. I hope the kids enjoy it," she said.

But all the dazzle and décor wouldn't be possible if not for all the extra helping hands.

"We have 300 volunteers from all over the country that come to the White House for four days and they do all these decorations," Biden said.

And just like she's thankful to the volunteers, Dr. Biden said she's also thankful to the American people.

"I hope that people can find some joy in their day, a little piece of joy, a little bit of reflecting on the blessings that we do have in America to live in this great country and to have the freedoms that we have. And, you know, just to know how special it is to be an American," she said.