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Making bows at the White House

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Vickey Bryan

Vickey Byron at the Blue Room of White House

Vickey Bryan of The Village at Castle Pines stands beneath the Presidential Seal outside the doors of the Blue Room in the White House. Bryan was a volunteer on a decorating team which helped make the White House ready for the more than 25,000 guests who will visit the White House during the holidays.


Vickey Bryan of The Village at Castle Pines spent a few days this holiday season in the West Wing of the White House decorating for the holidays. This year’s theme, “The Spirit of America,” was a tribute to the traditions, customs and history that make our nation great.

“It was my honor and privilege to partake in such an amazing opportunity to decorate ‘The People’s House,’” Bryan said. With a flair for decorating, Bryan was on team Blitzen. Each team was named after one of Santa’s reindeer. Team Blitzen made bows for sconces and mantels as well as placing ornaments on various trees.

The White House chooses 200 people for decorating teams, from approximately 5,000-6,000 applicants. “I am so proud to have been selected for the last three years and knowing I have walked the halls of history,” Bryan said.

Bryan shared that seeing all the historical artifacts displayed in the West Wing and throughout the White House, such as the china from different presidential administrations and the historical art of past presidents and first ladies, was profound and surreal. Bryan noted, “the secret service is very friendly but very particular in watching everyone.”

Vickey Bryan at Blue Room at the White House

Vickey Bryan of The Village at Castle Pines in front of the Blue Room tree in the White House. The 18-foot tree pays homage to the distinctive floral emblem of every state and territory with handmade paper flowers. Bryan is pointing to the Colorado flower.

According to the White House website, the Gold Star Family tree in the East Wing is decorated with golden stars, red bows and patriotic ribbons in honor of those who lost family members while serving. The Red Room has a game-room theme, including card and board games as part of the decorations. One of the trees has an ornament that states, “Be Best” in Scrabble tiles, a reference to the first lady’s child well-being initiative. The Grand Foyer is lit up in gold as faux snow dusts the floor and trees, and the East Colonnade features a white color scheme where three-dimensional stars hang from the ceiling and display a timeline of American design, innovation and architecture. A gingerbread replica of the White House was created by the White House pastry team and is featured in the State Dining Room. It is surrounded by U.S. landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge.

To see all the Christmas decorations at the White House, visit



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