So I went on a White House tour! And an extra special one at that, because the White House is decorated for the holidays!
Only it wasn’t really so special. I’ve been on a regular tour of the White House before. The holiday version of the tour was exactly the same, only there were a bunch of decorated trees, mantles and doorways. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and isn’t guided, though you’re told you can ask the Secret Service guys posted in each room for some history. (Most of them can’t tell you much.)
Such was the case with the guy in the Blue Room, where the biggest Christmas tree in the White House is. The tree had ornaments representing each state, and I was wondering what the ornament for my home state of New Jersey would be? Snooki?!
“Is this, like, the tree?” I asked him.
“Uh…I guess so?”
Okay. But maybe there was a chance he’d been briefed on some key details about what appeared to be the tree. For example, whether or not there was a Snooki ornament!
“Have you been briefed on the ornaments?”
“No…I usually just lie to people when they ask.” Apparently we were buddies, and he felt comfortable telling me he just lies to wide-eyed tourists with questions.
In the State Dining Room, I found another Secret Service guy, one who clearly hadn’t ever come into contact with a child before, and was never trained on how to deal with one. Two kids, one a baby and the other probably three years old, were fighting over who would get carried by their dad, which is pretty cute. Dad chose the baby, and the toddler was pissed. He sat down in the middle of the floor and started to cry.
“Come on dude,” the Secret Service guy said, “Everyone’s looking at you! Look at everybody staring at you! You look dumb!”
Weird that that didn’t help!
But other than screaming kids and Secret Service who didn’t know anything, the White House did look beautiful. Martha Stewart/Nate Berkus/other famous interior decorators would have been proud.
The other thing different about the White House holiday tour, aside from the whole decorations thing, was that people were allowed to take pictures! So join me on a photo tour of the White House at Christmastime.
Photos courtesy of Ryan Fanning.