Tag Archives: First Lady Jill Biden

First Lady Jill Biden Announces 2023 White House Holiday Theme:The “Magic, Wonder, and Joy” of the Holidays

The 2023 White House Holiday Display is designed to capture the pure, unfiltered delight and imagination of childhood, to encourage visitors to reflect on this time of year with hearts open to the magic, wonder, and joy of the season.  

Some 100,000 visitors are expected to at the White House for the holiday season, themed “The Magic, Wonder, and Joy of the Holidays,” First Lady Jill Biden announced. “The 2023 White House holiday theme is inspired by how children experience this festive season: completely present in the beauty and bounty around them, their senses alight, with hearts open to the magic, wonder, and joy of the holidays,” the President and First Lady wrote in a welcome letter at the beginning of the commemorative 2023 White House Holiday Guide.  
“In this season of reflection and goodwill, we hope you will embrace your inner child and delight in simply being present with those you love. It is a time for our senses to awaken—for each of us to smell the aroma of favorite family recipes, to hear the warmth of a dear friend’s voice, to see the glow of lights and decorations, to taste the sweetness of candies and treats, and to feel the quiet stillness and strength of faith,” the First Lady and President continued. “We hope you enjoy the holidays at the White House —’The People’s House,’ your house. May the memories made here remind us all of the blessing that is our Nation.”
During an event at the White House later today, the First Lady will officially unveil the holiday and seasonal decor, offer her holiday message to the Nation, and thank the volunteers from across the country who helped decorate the White House for the season. As part of her Joining Forces initiative to support military families, the First Lady invited National Guard families to be the first members of the public to experience the White House holiday decor. As a fellow National Guard mother, Dr. Biden wanted to show appreciation for, and honor, the special role the National Guard plays in serving our country. The National Guard is a unique element of the U.S. military that serves both community and country, in domestic and foreign missions. 
After delivering her holiday message, the children of National Guard families, as well as local military families, will be treated to a special performance by the cast of the North American tour of Disney’s stage musical, Frozen.
The White House expects to welcome approximately 100,000 visitors during the holiday season. Videos, photos, and information about the decor will be available on WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays. Additionally, over the course of the holidays, a variety of interactive viewing experiences will launch on digital platforms, allowing individuals to engage with the White House during the holidays from home.
2023 White House Holidays by the numbers:

  • Approximately 14,975 feet of ribbon, over 350 candles, over 33,892 ornaments, and over 22,100 bells were used this year to decorate the White House.
  • There are 98 Christmas trees throughout the White House complex.
  • The Gingerbread White House creation includes 40 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 40 sheets of gingerbread dough, 90 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate, and 50 pounds of royal icing.
  • Over 142,425 holiday lights decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths, and displays in the White House.
  • Seventy-two classic wreaths adorn the north and south facades of the White House.
  • It takes over 300 dedicated volunteers from across the country working a full week to decorate the inside and outside of the White House.

“Magic, Wonder, and Joy,” the 2023 Holidays Theme:
Each room and design element throughout the White House holiday display encourages visitors to embrace their inner child, indulge their senses, and delight in the “Magic, Wonder, and Joy” of the holidays.
Guests enter the East Wing of the White House under the festive branches of an enchanting and magical Christmas tree. The entrance decor invites visitors to summon joyful memories of childhood at the holidays: lying under the Christmas tree and gazing up with wonder, marveling at the twinkling lights, and feeling the soft pine needles above. Holiday candy and sweet treats of the season float overhead in both the East Wing Lobby and East Colonnade, reminding children and families of the delicious flavors of the holidays.
The Gold Star Tree
The first Christmas tree featured inside the White House is adorned with wooden Gold Star ornaments that are engraved with the names of fallen service members. The Gold Star tree honors the heroic men and women of our Nation’s military who have laid down their lives for our country and the families who carry on their legacies. May God bless our troops and their families.
The Ground Floor Corridor
The marble arches of the Ground Floor Corridor are sprinkled with holiday messages sent from Americans across the country to the President and First Lady. Letters to Santa Claus are magically flying in and out of vintage mail boxes, ready to be sent to the North Pole with a stamp and a wish.  Also on the Ground Floor Corridor is the first nod to the 200th Anniversary of the publication of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, a poem and book deeply etched into so many childhood memories. The Library of Congress provided a sampling of editions from the last 200 years to the White House, displayed in cases for visitors to remember and enjoy. 
The Library
The Library honors the tradition and magic of bedtime stories during the holiday season. Golden moons and shimmering stars are suspended above, with treasured holiday storybooks throughout the peaceful scene. Santa and his sleigh are seen through the window, flying past a full moon on his way to the White House.
The Vermeil Room
The decor of the Vermeil Room (French for gilded silver) represents the joy of music and performance during the holidays. At the center of the room is a mechanical theater creation, with rotating United States Marine Band figures entertaining guests with herald trumpets. Flanking the stage are Christmas trees draped with whimsical handcrafted instruments and snare drums, inviting guests to sing their favorite holiday tune. The mantel is graced with sculpted ballerinas, spinning out of music boxes.
The China Room
Favorite flavors and scents of the season are featured in the China Room. A White House sweet shop sets the scene in this room, with holiday cakes, cookies, and gingerbread enhancing the space. Piles of cooking supplies and baking ingredients remind guests of familiar recipes that bring generations of families together year after year during the holidays.
The East Room
The joyful anticipation of the holidays is front and center in the East Room, with Advent calendars counting down the days to Christmas. Behind each number is a special surprise for children of all ages to enjoy.
As the largest room in the White House, the East Room has hosted public receptions, ceremonies, bill signings, and other memorable occasions. It also includes Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, which First Lady Dolley Madison helped save in 1814 when the White House was about to be set aflame during the War of 1812.
The East Room features a Neapolitan crèche, or Nativity scene, with over 40 figurines, most dating back to the eighteenth century. The crèche has been displayed during every White House holiday season since 1967.
The Green Room

Glowing candles and stained glass symbolize the peace, strength, and joy we find in faith. It is often in quiet, candlelit rooms when we can see most clearly, center ourselves in faith, and embrace the wonder of our world around us.
Arranged in the windows are colorful sprays of crystal and prisms, mixed with shimmering fabric and embroidered starbursts to reflect light. Colorful orchids, a favorite of First Lady Jill Biden, and holiday florals are incorporated throughout the room.
The Blue Room
The Blue Room showcases the official White House Christmas Tree. This year’s tree is an 18½ foot Fraser Fir from Fleetwood, North Carolina and stands floor to ceiling, filling the oval room. Every year, the Blue Room’s chandelier is removed to accommodate the Christmas tree’s full height.
The stunning tree celebrates cheerful scenes, landscapes, and neighborhoods from all across the country, with names of every state, territory, and the District of Columbia, showcased throughout the decor. With bright colors and three-dimensional elements, guests will gaze in wonder as they are taken on a delightful adventure around the tree. A replica of a vintage passenger train, on loan from the Train Collectors Association, magically weaves through the tree’s base.
This year’s official White House Christmas Tree was presented to the First Lady by siblings Amber Scott and Alex Church of Cline Church Nursery, the 2023 Grand Champion Grower in the National Christmas Tree Association’s annual contest.
Red Room
The decor of the Red Room represents the joy of making holiday crafts together. Whether sewing a costume for the Christmas pageant, stringing popcorn for the tree, or fashioning homemade ornaments, the holidays are a time for creativity and imagination. As part of the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative to support military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors, the ornaments in this room were created out of the handprints and painted family portraits of military-connected children, ensuring that military and veteran families can see themselves and their talents reflected in this year’s holiday display.
A Red Room tradition since 1975, fresh cranberries are integrated into the decor as topiary forms. Marking a new twist to the time-honored tradition are cranberry red beads incorporated into the room’s handmade popcorn garland.
State Dining Room
Embodying the “Magic, Wonder, and Joy” of the holidays is Santa’s Workshop in the State Dining Room. Elves’ workbenches, stools, and ladders circle the Christmas trees, with tools and gifts-in-progress filling out the decor. Life-sized nutcrackers and dancing ballerinas flank the Christmas trees and reside within the window wells, with festive ribbons and gift tags lining the fireplace. 
An engraving on the mantel reads, “I Pray Heaven To Bestow The Best of Blessings On This House…” The words were taken from a letter written by President John Adams to his wife, Abigail, dated November 2, 1800. These words are now known as the White House blessing.
2023 Gingerbread White House
A favorite for all during the holidays is the annual Gingerbread White House. Inspired by the 200th anniversary of the publication of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, this year’s Gingerbread White House features a recreation of this storied tale. The display includes a sugar cookie replica of the famous book, as well as Santa’s sleigh flying above the White House grounds. This magical poem has delighted children for 200 years, with families across the world gathering together for generations to recite the lyrical lines by memory.
The Cross Hall
The Cross Hall unites the State Rooms of the White House, with the East Room and State Dining Room at the opposite ends, and the Green, Blue, and Red Rooms opening from the south side. The slightly arched ceiling springs from the cast plaster molding designed during the Theodore Roosevelt renovation of 1902.
During the holidays, the Cross Hall features the official White House Menorah, created in 2021 by the White House Executive Residence Carpentry Shop. The menorah was constructed using wood that was removed more than seventy years ago during the Truman-era renovation of the White House.
The Grand Foyer
Closing out the 2023 White House holiday display is an incredible, eye-catching recreation of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Grand Foyer. With Santa’s enchanting sleigh and reindeer suspended in the air, and the Cross Hall’s architectural niches featuring elements of the famous story, guests will leave their White House holiday experience with hearts full of “Magic, Wonder, and Joy.”
2023 White House Holiday Guide Illustrator
Children’s book illustrator Raúl Colón created the inspired artwork throughout the 2023 White House Holiday Guide, bringing the First Lady’s holiday theme to life on the page. 
2023 White House Holiday Recognitions and Support
The President and Dr. Biden thanked the Executive Residence staff and the team of over 300 volunteers from across the country who dedicated their time, energy, and talents to transform the White House for the holiday season. 
The President and Dr. Biden, and the entire White House team, expressed their gratitude for the talents and support from: 

  • The National Confectioners Association; 
  • The Train Collectors Association;
  • The Library of Congress; and

The creative design teams of Burke & Pryde, DesignMa, Dodge-Chrome, Inc., Emily Barton Design, Glitterville Studios, Mark Gagnon, Rafanelli Events, and Silver Lining Design Group.

For more holiday visit information, see:

A Capital Christmas in Washington DC

First Lady to Lead First-Ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research

 The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

While MAGA Republicans are doing their best to undermine women’s rights, health, ability to succeed, President Biden has announced the first-ever White House initiative on Women’s Health Research, to be led by First Lady Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council. The new initiative will fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research. Presently, most medical research is conducted on men, with serious consequences for health of women across the country. Here is a fact sheet from the White House explaining the new initiative:

Despite making up more than half of the population, women have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long. Research on women’s health is drastically underfunded, leading to significant research gaps, with serious consequences for the health of women across the country. This lack of investment limits our understanding of conditions that are specific to women, predominantly affect women, or affect women differently. In order to give women and their health care providers the tools and information that they need to more effectively prevent, diagnose, and treat these conditions – from rheumatoid arthritis to menopause to Alzheimer’s disease to cardiovascular disease to endometriosis – our nation must fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research.
If we act swiftly, we can pioneer the next generation of discoveries in women’s health – improving the lives of millions of women. That’s why, today, President Biden is establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. This new effort will be led by First Lady Jill Biden, who has long championed women’s health, and the White House Gender Policy Council. The Initiative will be chaired by Dr. Carolyn Mazure, an esteemed leader in the field of women’s health research, who will coordinate the Initiative on behalf of the Office of the First Lady and the Gender Policy Council.
“I have always believed in the power of research to save lives and to ensure that Americans get the high-quality health care they need,” President Biden stated. “To achieve scientific breakthroughs and strengthen our ability to prevent, detect, and treat diseases, we have to be bold. That’s why today, we’re establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research so that my Administration—from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense—does everything we can to drive innovation in women’s health and close research gaps.”
“Every woman I know has a story about leaving her doctor’s office with more questions than answers,” commented First Lady Jill Biden. “Not because our doctors are withholding information, but because there’s just not enough research yet on how to best manage and treat even common women’s health conditions. In 2023, that is unacceptable. Our new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will help change that by identifying bold solutions to uncover the answers that every woman and her family deserves. We also are calling on congressional leaders, the private sector, research institutions, and philanthropy to join us in taking urgent action to improve the health and lives of women throughout the nation.”
The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. As a first step, through today’s Presidential Memorandum, the President is directing his Administration to: 

  • Establish an Initiative consisting of executive departments and agencies across the Federal government. Initiative members include Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, and White House offices, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  
  • Deliver concrete recommendations to advance women’s health research. Within 45 days, Initiative members will recommend concrete actions that the Biden-Harris Administration can take to improve how research on women’s health is conducted and maximize the Administration’s investments in women’s health research, including to address health disparities and inequities.
  • Take a targeted, high-impact approach. To deliver results quickly, Initiative members will set priority areas of focus where additional investments could be transformative—in areas of research ranging from heart attacks in women to menopause.
  • Engage the scientific, private sector, and philanthropic communities. The Initiative will explore new public-private partnerships and engage private and philanthropic leaders to drive innovation and ensure the combined power of public, private, and philanthropic sectors advances research on women’s health.

Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure serves as the Chair of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research and has recently joined the Office of the First Lady. Dr. Mazure comes to the White House from the Yale School of Medicine, where she has served as the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women’s Health Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology. After three years at the National Institutes of Health and fellowship training at Yale, Dr. Mazure joined the Yale faculty as an active clinician and NIH-funded researcher. She created Women’s Health Research at Yale, the university’s interdisciplinary research center on the health of women, which studies a wide breadth of topics from cardiovascular disease to cancers. She holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and did her fellowship and post-doctoral work at Yale School of Medicine.

Guest List for the First Lady Jill Biden’s Box for the 2022 State of the Union Address 

First Lady Jill Biden at President Joe Biden’s 2021 Speech to Congress sat without guests because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the First Lady’s guest list includes individuals, who with their resilience, innovation, service, and courage, were chosen by the White House because they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech.  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  First Lady Jill Biden will welcome selected guests from across the United States to join her in the viewing box for President Biden’s State of the Union Address this evening, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Each of these individuals, with their resilience, innovation, service, and courage, were chosen by the White House because they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech.   

The Second Gentleman, Mr. Douglas Emhoff, the President’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Oksana Markarova, will also join the First Lady in the viewing box.   

The following Americans, listed in alphabetical order, will be seated in the box with the First Lady and Second Gentleman: 

Joseph “JoJo” Burgess (Washington, Pennsylvania)  
New Employee Organization Trainer, United Steelworkers Local 1557  
Burgess is a 20-year member of the United Steelworkers and works at the U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works facility, where he assists with training new hires and inspires future generations of steelworkers. The son of two former steelworkers, Burgess graduated high school in 1988 and promptly joined the U.S. Army, where he spent seven years in the military, including a tour during Operation Desert Storm. Upon his transition from the U.S. Army, he began his career in manufacturing. Burgess is an active member of the NAACP Washington branch.  His son recently became a third-generation steelworker in the Pittsburgh area.  Burgess introduced President Biden recently at an event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh about the importance of investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, and making more in America.   

Joshua Davis (Midlothian, Virginia)  
7th Grade, Swift Creek Middle School, Diabetes Advocate 
Davis is a 13-year-old from Midlothian, VA, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 11 months old. When he was four years old, he advocated for the Virginia General Assembly to pass a bill making school safer for kids with Type 1 diabetes. The Davis family, including his father Brian, who also has Type 1 diabetes, has continued to raise awareness about the importance of lowering prescription drug costs for American families. Davis and his mother, Shannon, introduced President Biden at an event on prescription drug costs at Germanna Community College in Culpeper, VA on February 10, 2022.  

Refynd Duro (Galloway, Ohio) 
Progressive Care Unit Nurse, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center  
Duro has been treating patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and at times has had to quarantine away from her family because of her job, including her four-year-old son. She serves as a bedside nurse and advocate for bedside nurses and patient safety, a role she has held for 19 years. Her career started in a Neuro Intermediate Care Unit and in an outpatient dialysis unit. She then transferred to a level 1 trauma center at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, where she has been working for the last 12 years.   

Patrick “Pat” Gelsinger (Santa Clara, California)  
Chief Executive Officer, Intel 
Gelsinger serves as the CEO of Intel, where he spent the first 30 years of his career and served as Intel’s first Chief Technology Officer. He is a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. On January 21, 2022, Gelsinger announced one of the largest investments in a semiconductor manufacturing facility in recent U.S. history. Construction on a $20 billion Intel facility near Columbus, Ohio, will begin this year built by union labor, creating over 7,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 jobs running the high-tech facility.  

Frances Haugen (Iowa City, Iowa) 
Former Facebook Lead Product Manager on Civic Misinformation 
Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. Haugen was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and, later, worked on counter-espionage. She is an advocate for more humanity and transparency across the tech and social media industry, especially as it relates to teen mental health.

Melissa Isaac (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan) 
Gizhwaasod (“Protector of the Young”) at the Michigan Department of Education’s Indigenous Education Initiative and Founder of Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT)’s Project AWARE Program   
Isaac is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and serves her community through her role at the Michigan Department of Education. Most recently, Isaac worked as the Director of Education for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. As an elementary school teacher at Saginaw Chippewa Academy (SCA), Isaac recognized the need to support the mental health of her students and their families. She later successfully applied for a Project AWARE grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Using this grant, Isaac expanded mental health services for children at SCA and two public school districts, which included services for Native American children. Previously, First Lady and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy met Melissa Isaac on October 24, 2021, when they hosted a listening session focused on youth mental health with members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, educators, and families in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  

Danielle Robinson (Columbus, Ohio) 
Surviving Spouse of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson 
Danielle Robinson is the widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and the Camp Liberty/Victory complex in Iraq. SFC Robinson was serving on active duty as a combat engineer in the Ohio National Guard when he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder and stage 4 lung cancer.  He passed away in May of 2020.  Robinson is an advocate for helping service members and veterans who have been exposed to environmental hazards and burn pits while serving.  Robinson, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter named Brielle, has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and has been practicing for 10 years. She works with patients who have orthopedic injuries and neurological disorders.  

Kezia Rodriguez (North Bergen, New Jersey) 
Student-Parent at Bergen Community College 
Rodriguez is a full-time student at Bergen Community College and mother of twin daughters. She enrolled her children in Bergen’s tuition-free child care program, an initiative made possible by the American Rescue Plan. Rodriguez is on track to graduate Bergen with an associate’s degree in general science and aims to transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Having access to high-quality, affordable child care supports Rodriguez as she completes her education. Originally from Queens, New York, she is a first-generation American and the daughter of parents from Brazil. Rodriguez introduced the First Lady at Bergen Community College on January 20, 2022. 

Additional information about the State of the Union, including the livestream, is available at: WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.