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Bedecking The White House

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled the White House Christmas decorations and tree on Monday, Dec. 6th.

The 18 1/2-foot Noble fir tree was delivered to the White House by a horse-drawn sleigh, and was festooned with ornaments from every state in the union. Among Mrs. Clinton's favorite ornaments are figures of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. The tree adorns the Blue Room.

There are ornaments from all 50 states on the tree.

Most of the decorating was done by 60 volunteers who worked for two days in a warehouse, making wreaths and garlands.

Also on view was an elaborate gingerbread village in the State Dining Room.

Festivities included a chorus of young people wearing colonial costumes and a secret service agent dressed up as Santa Claus.

Mrs. Clinton also unveiled the 1999 White House Holiday card, which features a watercolor painting of the North Portico.

Inside that Santa Claus suit is a Secret Service agent.

The card was created by artist Ray Ellis of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, who is known for his exquisite watercolor and oil landscapes.

The card's inscription reads: "Our family wishes you and yours a blessed holiday season filled with treasured memories of past traditions and joy and peace in the new millennium." It is signed by the president and first lady and embossed with the Presidential seal.

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