December 1, 2010 / 10:54 PM / 8 years ago

Old papers, green theme at White House for Christmas

WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - The White House may not always know how to respond to reporters’ questions, but it appears to have made good use of their work this holiday season by using old magazines and newspapers to help deck the halls.

A Christmas tree is seen inside the Blue Room from the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, December 1, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The recycled publications were used to make sparkling golden wreaths and trees adorning, appropriately enough, the White House’s “Green Room,” which is decorated with the theme of recycling and reusing ordinary materials.

This year’s decorations at the executive mansion include 19 trees. One is covered with ornaments commemorating the U.S. military, and topped with a hand-made dove of peace. Beside the tree is a basket filled with cards on which visitors can write messages, and a mailbox to send them to troops overseas.

A large figure of Bo, the Obama family dog, is near another tree, which bears gingerbread ornaments decorated by 300 military children. The figure of the shaggy family pet is made of 40,000 black and white pipe cleaners.

“It’s very cool and he’s very soft,” first lady Michelle Obama told children attending a preview of the decorations.

Bob Lapp, 88, from Carlinville, Illinois, a volunteer who helped decorate, said the real Bo had visited his doppelganger.

“I’m sure he’s seen it, because he’s walked through here many times,” he said.

Bo makes another appearance in the State Dining Room, where a model dog made of a marzipan blend sits in front of this year’s White House gingerbread house. Clad in white chocolate, with clear gelatin windows, the house weighs well over 400 pounds, said executive pastry chef Bill Yosses.

“They complain every year that it’s getting heavier. We just tell them that they’re getting older,” he joked.

Nearly 100 volunteers come to the White House every year to put up the decorations. Several said they had written to the White House several times before being chosen.

Alexander Schneider, a 23-year-old studying set design, said he had wanted to help for 10 years. He came this year with his grandmother. He was in the green room with the trees and wreaths made from newspapers and magazines.

“This is a very easy project,” the St. Paul, Minnesota, native told reporters, some of whom may work for the publications used to make the trees. “You just need a little time.”

Editing by Patricia Reaney

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