MOTHER EARTH NEWS Decorates Presidential Guest House for the Holidays

MOTHER EARTH NEWS was invited by the Department of State to spruce up historic rooms with eco-friendly décor for the holiday season.

| Dec. 11, 2009

  • Dining Room Fireplace
    The Jackson Dining Room Fireplace in the Blair House, the President's Guest House
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Blair House Dining Room
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS decorated rooms in the President's Guest House with messages of environmental stewardship and national food security for the holiday season. Jackson Place Dining Room, Blair House, Washington, D.C.
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Jackson Sitting Room
    The Jackson Sitting Room in the Blair House, the President's Guest House
    ROB CARDILLO
  • International Peace Dove Cookies
    During the U.S. Civil War, the Christmas tree was widely treated as a symbol of hope for the reunification of the country. Christmas trees became symbols of patriotism, and were often decorated with flags, liberty bells and cookies. The trees displayed in the Jackson Sitting Room feature handmade peace dove cookies carrying flags of the nations of the world, as a holiday symbol of all nations’ desire for peace and harmony.
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Cortland Apples
    The Adams Reception Room at the State Department features ever-popular apples as the centerpiece of the holiday decorations. Conscientious growers from across the country provided rare, heirloom varieties, each with a unique history, to fill bowls and perfume the air in this elegant room. 
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Decorating Team
    The MOTHER EARTH NEWS Decorating Team. From left: Matthew T. Stallbaumer, Kim Wallace, John Rockhold, Tabitha Alterman, Bryan Welch, Robyn Griggs Lawrence, Stacy Lawrence, Heidi Alterman, Jessica Kellner, Ann Goldstein, Brandy Ernzen, David Derbyshire
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Arkansas Black apples
    Apples have been a part of winter festivals since ancient times, spreading throughout the world from their origin in Central Asia. Today in America there is renewed interest in the diverse flavors offered by beautiful heirloom varieties such as those on display. 
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Artisan Ciders
    Artisan ciders from around the country (See MOTHER EARTH NEWS Spreads the Word About Unique Apples and Artisan Ciders)
    MATTHEW T. STALLBAUMER
  • Tabitha Alterman with Hillary Clinton
    Senior Associate Editor and Project Manager Tabitha Alterman with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    ROB CARDILLO
  • John Rockhold with Hillary Clinton
    Managing Editor John Rockhold with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Bryan Welch with Hillary Clinton
    Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Capricia Marshall
    ROB CARDILLO
  • Bill Uhler with Hillary Clinton
    General Manager Bill Uhler with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    ROB CARDILLO

  • Dining Room Fireplace
  • Blair House Dining Room
  • Jackson Sitting Room
  • International Peace Dove Cookies
  • Cortland Apples
  • Decorating Team
  • Arkansas Black apples
  • Artisan Ciders
  • Tabitha Alterman with Hillary Clinton
  • John Rockhold with Hillary Clinton
  • Bryan Welch with Hillary Clinton
  • Bill Uhler with Hillary Clinton

This holiday season, MOTHER EARTH NEWS was honored to showcase messages of environmental stewardship through beautiful holiday decorations as one of six national magazines participating in the first-ever Magazine Holiday Design Showcase, a partnership between the Magazine Publishers of America and the U.S. Department of State.

View a slide show of our decorations.

We spruced up two rooms in the Blair House, the president’s official guest house, and one of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the State Department’s Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, D.C. These rooms have borne witness to some of the nation’s greatest diplomatic achievements and will be visited by hundreds of guests this December, including foreign leaders and dignitaries, diplomats, senators and congressmen. Our decorations seek to support President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Ambassador Marshall and their staffs in the vital role they play in welcoming visitors to the United States. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to highlight important environmental issues — the need to sustain biodiversity with heirloom food crops, reduce consumption and purchase sustainable goods — at such esteemed venues,” says Bryan Welch, publisher and editorial director.  


Blair House: Jackson Dining Room and Sitting Room

These rooms emphasized the beauty and elegance of environmentally friendly living, while calling for Peace on Earth. Live trees display handmade dove-shaped cookies carrying flags of nations from around the world, and gorgeous rare heirloom corns, wheat and rice tell a story about world hunger. The decorations in these rooms were energy-efficient, handmade, fairly traded, recycled and reusable.



An International Tree for Peace. Decorating winter holidays with evergreen boughs and trees is an ancient tradition now practiced in many countries. During the U.S. Civil War, the Christmas tree was widely treated as a symbol of hope for the reunification of the country. Christmas trees became symbols of patriotism, and were often decorated with flags, liberty bells and cookies. The trees displayed in the Jackson Sitting Room feature handmade peace dove cookies carrying flags of the nations of the world, as a holiday symbol of all nations’ desire for peace and harmony.

Let Us Be Mindful of Those Who Have Less. For thousands of years, people all around the world have gathered during winter to celebrate their religious holy days and/or the return of light and warmth following the Winter Solstice. Food is often at the center of such celebrations. The unique decorations in the Jackson Dining Room feature the “Big Three” crops that feed the modern world:

K Williams
12/18/2009 8:08:12 PM

Congratulations to the decorating team- It was great to see the apples and other homey touches in Blair House. (I could have managed without Hillary Clinton.)




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