The theme for this year’s White House decorations is “A Children’s Winter Wonderland.” But as I walked through the front door of the president’s home Wednesday afternoon for the media’s preview of the decorations, I discovered it was a winter wonderland for me, too.
Twenty-six Christmas trees can be seen throughout the tour – including the massive 18 foot official tree in the Blue Room. There’s a huge gingerbread White House replica, countless wreaths and mechanical statues of first dogs Bo and Sunny.
There’s also the smell. The entire house smells like gingerbread and pine. First lady Michelle Obama said they could even smell it upstairs, where the family lives. It’s worthy of a Yankee Candle scent.
For anybody who loves the holidays as much as I do, it’s definitely a winter wonderland. But I was experiencing it with a sea of other journalists, which was the icing on the cake, or Christmas cookie as it would be.
Everybody was buzzing around taking photos and interviewing the volunteers as quickly as they could before racing off to the next elaborately decorated room. For a young journalist, it’s the most stimulating and inspiring environment.
Before being escorted to the decorations, journalists, photographers and cameramen lined up outside of the briefing room, and somehow I found myself next to NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.
In short, I’m a huge fan and was not cool about us meeting at all. I didn’t even say anything to her until we were being escorted out of the White House. I had no idea what to say to my idol.
“So, I’m an intern and I love your work,” I told her. “I listen to you every day.”
Yep, not cool at all. Probably the least cool I could have been.
We ended up talking for a few minutes over sugar cookies and cider outside of the White House.
I walked out through the gates after one of the most amazing Washington experiences in my time here: Being able to cover the holidays with people I idolize in a place that is amazing to begin with.