This year’s official White House holiday gingerbread house is gray. But don’t panic — it wasn’t recycled from the deep freeze of White House Christmases past.
The 300-pound replica of the presidential mansion, made for the first time of rye-, wheat- and white-flour gingerbread, replicates the original sandstone used in the building of the White House. “I went to the first lady’s office to present my idea, and they liked it,” says Bill Yosses, White House executive pastry chef. “We made it to look like it did when it was built with stone from Aquia, Virginia, before they painted it white in 1798.”
First lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families at the annual unveiling of glittering holiday decorations that opens the season of entertaining at the White House. More than 90,000 people are expected to visit the public rooms during this holiday season for tours, receptions and dinners. The year’s theme — drum roll, please — is “Joy to All,” and in the execution, the Obamas use some things old and some things new, which has been a hallmark of their White House holidays. “Joy” joins the Obamas’ previous official themes in White House holiday history: 2009’s “Reflect, Rejoice, Renew” (trees trimmed in dried root materials from the White House garden); 2010’s “Simple Gifts” (wreaths of recycled newspapers); and last year’s “Shine, Give, Share” (recycled aluminum trees) .