A White House Holiday in Westfield

 WESTFIELD – The Westfield Athenaeum is decorated for the holiday season, as part of “The White House Holiday Project” and “Westfield Dickens Days”. “The White House Holiday Project” and the theme of Christmas in the White House was developed by Fend Interiors and was chosen as a way to honor the Athenaeum for being the cultural center of Westfield.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy introduced the idea of coming up with a theme for the White House Christmas Tree and the public rooms on the first floor in 1961. Since that year, a committee composed of the First Lady, the White House Chief Florist, and their staff members meet during the springtime to choose the theme for the decorations for the Christmas season.
Michael Chunyk of Fend Interiors and Wil Stebbins, Holiday White House Historian, designed the Athenaeum’s three rooms that are decorated for the project. Chunyk said that the decorations in the rooms of the Athenaeum were chosen “to focus on more recent history and selected rooms from the Clinton, Ford and Bush administrations”. The project also pays homage to Nancy Clarke, the former Chief Florist for the White House who served six administrations, which included three decades and thirty-one Christmases.
The decorations at the Athenaeum include an 18-foot tall tree decorated with “green” ornaments made of recycled materials, garland adorned with pears and gilded pine cones, and lighted cylindrical “pencil trees” complete with fruit and red hydrangea.
Chunyk also added that “this was an amazing project and Fend Interiors would like to thank the Athenaeum for allowing us to express this creativity in a historical and fun way”.
Michael Chunyk and Will Stebbins will be giving tours of the decorated rooms tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. which will include a brief history of each theme as well as talking about the history of holidays at the White House. Cookies and champagne will be served in the Rand Gallery as well.
In the main lobby, there is both a Salvation Army and an Athenaeum Giving Tree, where visitors can help someone in need this holiday season as well as contribute to the Athenaeum.

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