This year, the White House's holiday theme of "Shine, Give, Share," celebrates the holiday spirit through decor ranging from tabletop trees made from recycled aluminum to a 400-pound White House Gingerbread House. I recently chatted with White House florist Laura Dowling about the inspiration for the theme and tips on getting the look at your own home.CasaSugar: What was the inspiration for this year’s decor?
Laura Dowling: This year’s theme is inspired by the First Lady’s message of giving to others and community service. Additionally, a very important element of this year’s holiday theme is the recognition and support of America’s military families. Visitors will see special decorations in the East Entrance and in the Blue Room that are designed to honor our nation’s service men and women and their families.
CasaSugar: What are some of the ideas that homeowners can use this holiday season, inspired by the White House decor?
Laura Dowling: Some of the most interesting ideas are on display at the White House use materials that are inexpensive or free – and would be easy for people to try at home.
Check out Laura's tips below!
- Natural containers. Magnolias, pinecones, mosses and ferns can be used to create containers for flower arrangements – these vases are on display throughout the White House this season.
- Paper decorations. Festive wreaths and trees made of felt and paper make charming holiday decorations.
- Bo topiaries. Bo, the First Family dog, is rendered in a variety of simple materials, including felt, licorice and marshmallows, buttons, and even trash bags. See a video of how the White House flower shop team made the button version of Bo.
- Recycled decorations. We worked to make our holiday green by using recycled and natural materials. For example, the Green Room trees are made from recycled aluminum cans we collected at the White House, and 80 to 90 percent of the ornaments we used are recycled from past White House Christmases. You can think about how to re-use your old ornaments at home, and use recycled materials in new ways.
LD: To get the look of the Red Room cranberry and pepperberry vase, purchase a variety of fresh or faux berries. Many craft stores begin to discount their seasonal décor in mid-December. Apply masking tape to a simple vase or flower bucket and mark off strips around the container, taking care to space them evenly. With a hot glue gun, apply rows of pepperberries and cranberries around the vase, covering the entire surface. The vase creates a unique presentation for a dramatic display of red and hot pink flowers – amaryllis, roses, and even carnations can be used for an economical approach.