Dr. Jill Biden takes Action News on holiday tour of White House

The first lady says she fondly recalls Christmastime in Philadelphia as a child.

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Alicia Vitarelli discusses White House holiday decor with first lady
Alicia Vitarelli and Dr. Jill Biden discuss the first lady's holiday traditions and how she incorporated them into decorating the White House.

WASHINGTON (WPVI) -- The holidays are in full swing at the White House.

On Monday, Action News was invited to see all the executive mansion's Christmas decorations. She was accompanied by the person who designed them all: First Lady Jill Biden.

About 130 miles from her native Hammonton, New Jersey, Dr. Biden says when she decorated the "People's House" for the holidays, she wanted it to feel homey. She set the tables to reflect the way she grew up.

"All of those memories from Hammonton and eating Italian food -- the braciole and the homemade wedding soup," she recalls.

Alicia Vitarelli brought Dr. Jill Biden a holiday gift from her alma mater in Pennsylvania.

With the help of more than 100 volunteers, 41 trees inside the White House are adorned with thousands of ornaments and tens of thousands of lights.

One Christmas tree is full of history, decorated with family photos.

"These are all of the families who have lived here - the Reagans, the Carters, the Clintons, the Kennedys, the Bidens," said the first lady.

If you look closely, you'll see the Bidens at their beloved Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and in Ocean City, New Jersey where she worked her first job.

"I waitressed at the Jersey Shore and I got money so I could pay for college," said Dr. Biden

The first lady fondly recalls Christmastime in Philadelphia as a child.

"I would take the train in and I would go Christmas shopping," she said.

Feeling blessed by her own journey, Dr. Biden wants gratitude to be the garland here. This year's theme is "Gifts from the Heart."