Yes, my wife Alex and I attended the White House holiday party on December 21 – an incredible “once in a lifetime” night – so how did this happen?
Here’s the story!
It all began when my Alex received this email:
That’s right: Alex was invited to the holiday party, and I was her “+1!”
So we changed some plans and headed to DC!
On the morning of the event, we did the standard tourist stuff, and then we received an update from The White House, moving the party back an hour…here’s why:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy secretly flew into the US for a private meeting and press conference with President Biden!
We either got a shot of him arriving or military helicopters clearing his way….either way, we used the extra time to see a few seasonal sights before the party began!
As the sun was beginning to set, we had to make sure we saw the official holiday tree!
As you can see, the Washington Monument was close by – oh, as was The White House itself:
After a quick change, it was time to get in line to head into the White House!
It was bitterly cold at the time, as the “bomb cyclone” in the mid-west had sent temperatures plunging, but they keep the line into the party moving quickly. We had to take a covid test earlier in the day, and everyone’s official ID was checked by Secret Service as we entered the grounds, but once there, it was wide open and yes, we could take all the pictures and videos we wanted!
There was a small military band playing music as we entered the East Wing:
As you can see, the entrance is spectacular, and yes, there is more live music to accompany you as you head toward the East Room, where the main party was:
As you walk in, there are incredible portraits like this one of former First Lady Michelle Obama:
Current First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and her husband were also there to greet us – as well as a series of their framed holiday cards:
We have both of the Biden holiday cards, signed by the President and First Lady – my wife is the Executive Producer of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and they shot the first ever talk show from the East Room during the pandemic:
That was in the room then, and this is what the East Room looked like on the night we were there:
While it was my first glass of wine, I did indeed say “red rine” – but no one cut me off!
The center tables were piled with all sorts of food, from sautéed chicken to cooked shrimp, mac’n’cheese and lots of desserts!
We were allowed to wander throughout the East Wing, including the library room:
That’s First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt – I mean, history was all around us!
How about this “red room” – with a “tree” made of candles!
In one room the fireplace was adorned with culinary ornaments and hand-written recipes from constituents as well – and Alex discovered they had a bundt pan there!
Alex has a tradition on every show she produces that each week at her staff meeting, someone presents a bundt to the team!
This was an amazing place to wander, and we noticed a podium had been set up in one area – here is some video:
Phones raised high, people packed in tight as the President and First Lady arrived and addressed the crowd:
What a special night!
The event last for two hours, and then we exited the White House, the band was there to wish us farewell:
As we headed to the official White House gate, we turned and grabbed one more shot from the grounds:
Even better, Alex was asked if she wanted a private tour of the West Wing the next night!
We saw the Oval Office and so much more, but on this night, there were NO CAMERAS OR PHONES ALLOWED.
They are confiscated and held in a secure box while you are inside – we were told that rule pertains to EVERYONE – including foreign dignitaries!
We WERE taken to the entryway of the Oval Office, and were allowed to look at it without entering – so this is a stock photo with the President – he was NOT there when we were!
So much history has been made in this room!
Our terrific White House contact, who gave us an incredible tour, did take this one photo of us in the White House Press Room, so we have that memory!
As I said, my wife took her show to the East Room, and it was fascinating – you can see more of that trip by clicking here:
As you read, I could look into the Oval Office on my “West Wing” tour, but wasn’t allowed to enter it…still, it reminded me of all the action that has happened in that room:
Well, this may have been a movie but much of it took place in an exact replica of the Oval Office. It’s just one of the great films about the presidency…click here to see them all:
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