The White House Christmas decorations include a Hanukkah menorah for the first time

A menorah on display at the White House
A menorah in the Cross Hall of the White House.Patrick Semansky/AP
  • Jill Biden unveiled the 2022 White House Christmas decorations, themed "We the People," on Monday.

  • The decor includes a menorah, which is lit on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

  • It's the first time a menorah has been created especially for the official White House decorations.

First lady Dr. Jill Biden unveiled the 2022 White House Christmas decorations on Monday, centered around the theme "We the People." In addition to the Christmas trees, holiday lights, and Biden family Christmas stockings, this year's display included a new addition: a Hanukkah menorah.

Located in the Cross Hall, the menorah was built by White House carpenters using leftover wood from a Truman-era White House renovation circa 1950, according to the White House's official website.

The White House has hosted menorah lightings and Hanukkah parties over the years, but this is the first time that a menorah has been created especially for the official White House holiday decorations.

Christmas celebrations at the White House date back to 1800, but Hanukkah wasn't acknowledged until much later. President Jimmy Carter was the first president to recognize the Jewish holiday with a menorah lighting on the White House lawn in 1979. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush hosted the first White House Hanukkah party in 2001, marking the first time a menorah was lit in the White House residence.

In 2021, second gentleman Doug Emhoff led the menorah lighting at the White House Hanukkah party and spoke about his Jewish heritage.

"To think that today, I'm here before you as the first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president celebrating Hanukkah, in the people's house, it's humbling and it's not lost on me that I stand before you all on behalf of all the Jewish families and communities out there across our country," he said. "I understand that and I really appreciate it."

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