I wish I could work in a really cheesy line about how even Santa Claus will have to go through extra security this Christmas at the White House! The words, "making a guest list, checking it twice" would be involved:
Because, yes, there's extra scrutiny on the the White House's 17 holiday parties and 11 open houses and 50,000 visitors. And that checking twice thing is no joke, either: in the wake of l'Affaire Salahi, there are indeed two security checkpoints and an ID requirement worthy of a Georgetown bar.
In the first barrage of holiday parties, the pressure is on: Obama's White House has already faced criticism for its handling of the first Hanukkah party and its War-on-Christmas holiday card, and it can't be the last we'll see. Especially given that they've cut down on the number of events, gotten rid of the traditional receiving-line-and-picture-op, and, as the New York Times explains, instituted "eco-friendly decorations, an understated décor to reflect the difficult economic times, and a buffet menu that showcases healthful fare like salmon, fresh vegetables and sushi." (To say nothing of Simon Doonan's decor consultation, which, given his penchant for "Neurotic Yule," and politically-charged Mr-"Potatoe"-Head-in-dunce-cap windows, seems a potentially entertaining choice.) Other changes? "The more than 800 ornaments adorning the Christmas tree in the Blue Room were recycled from earlier administrations but updated with new designs by community groups across the country...The cranberry Christmas tree in the Red Room - a holiday staple since the Reagan administration - is gone, but cranberry garlands are on the mantle." (This was the Cranberry Tree - not nearly the behemoth institution that I expected.) You can see all the decorations - including the Bo-and-organic-garden-bedecked Gingerbread White House, as featured on Oprah - at the Washington Spaces blog.) We have already informed the White House that we demand figgy pudding and won't go until we get some, security checkpoints or no.
At White House, Holidays Are Both Treat And Test [NY Times]
White House Decorations Unveiled: Reflect, Rejoice, Renew [Washington Spaces]
White House Christmas Decorations? Yes. White House Christmas Card? No. [FoxNews]