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White House decorations honor pandemic workers

The decorations for President Joe Biden’s First Christmas at the White House, honor workers who remained at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House gave the public a first look at the decorations on Monday. The topic chosen for the Christmas 2021 White House is “Gifts from the Heart”.

The traditional Gingerbread White House recognizes nurses, doctors, teachers, food store workers and more. This year, a 158-kilogram gingerbread village was created to include the workplaces of different groups during the pandemic. This included a school, police, fire and gas stations, as well as a post office, food store and warehouse.

The workers who remained at work are also represented by bright and colorful doves and shooting stars placed in the area of ​​the eastern colonnade. The White House vacation guide says the decorations are meant to honor “the peace and light brought to us by all frontline workers and first responders during the pandemic. “

The decorations are the result of months of planning and hard work by First Lady Jill Biden and White House employees. She invited a group of Maryland sophomores to help show off the decorations on Monday.

The White House said the decorations are meant to represent people the Bidens met on a trip across the country this year.

A statement from the president and the first lady identified important gifts they say helped unite Americans across the country during the pandemic. Among these were Faith, family, arts, nature, friendship, community, unity and peace.

“These are the gifts that connect the sensitive chord of our lives. These are the gifts of the heart, ”the statement read. “We wish you a happy, healthy and joyful holiday season. As we look forward to a new year full of possibilities, may the gifts of the heart light our way forward. “

The volunteers who decorated the White House came only from the surrounding area due to concerns over COVID-19. About 100 people helped decorate 41 Christmas trees and hung more than 10,000 ornaments.

A major decoration is the official White House Christmas tree. This year it’s a 5.5 meter tall Fraser Fir covered in white doves. The tree, which is from the southern state of North Carolina, contains the names of all US states and territories on a white background ribbons. It is located in the Blue Room of the White House.

The White House has suspended public tours of the building due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. It is unclear how the holiday celebrations will unfold at the Presidential House. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there would be parties, but added they would be “different” from previous years.

I am Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in this story

decoration – not. objects placed on or around something to make it more inviting

first responder – not. someone who is one of the first people to arrive to deal with an emergency, including a paramedic, police or firefighter

Faith – not. the belief that something is good, just and trustworthy

sensitive chord – not. the deepest emotions or ailments

joyful – adj. Full of happiness; very happy

ornament – not. an object that is beautiful rather than useful

ribbon – not. a long, narrow piece of material used to tie things together or to be used as a decoration