WASHINGTON (WFFF) — It would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience if it weren’t already Jennifer Jones’s second time helping hang the annual holiday décor at the White House.
“I got to decorate the tree in the blue room, the official White House Christmas tree,” Jones said.
In 2018, Jones mainly helped with prep work, but this year she was front and center to hang ornaments and tie bows. Her husband also joined her this time.
The pair from Castleton were selected out of thousands of applicants. It’s a tradition dating back to the Nixon administration, when then-first lady Pat Nixon invited volunteers from across the country to decorate the people’s house.
“As I’m sitting there I kind of just look up, and realize I’m sitting on these steps right under the portrait of Abraham Lincoln,” she said. “As if it’s just any ol’ day but here I am at the White House.”
Jones said it took three days to dress the 18-and-a-half foot tree for this year’s theme — America the Beautiful. Students from all over the country, including some from the Green Mountain State, designed ornaments.
“So it was neat coming across a Vermont ornament, and I would pick where it would hang,” Jones said.
The couple’s visit featured a special reception with first lady Melania Trump. While the effort was done on a bit of a smaller scale due to the pandemic, Jones says we must keep the holiday spirit, and more importantly, hope alive.
“We can’t let anything get in the way of our traditions,” she said. “We were able to do it safely and do still do something really beautiful.”
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