It's a White (House) Christmas: festive Michelle unveils official decorations

"It's Christmas, it's exciting!"

When it comes to the Yuletide spirit, fun-loving Michelle Obama is already feeling festive.

This week the first lady unveiled the White House Christmas decorations, which this year have been themed 'Simpler Gifts' in recognition of the tough economic times.

And she gave a master class in creating homemade decorations while she was at it.

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With two children of her own, the president's wife is well-equipped when it comes to getting creative at Christmas.

And on Wednesday, she threw open the doors of the newly-decorated executive mansion for a party in honour of military families – with special work stations set out for the children to enjoy.

Hands-on Michelle was in the thick of the action as the youngsters decorated cookies, and made cards and miniature Christmas trees using old magazine pages.

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There was plenty of inspiration to be found – the appropriately named Green Room has been decked out in items made from recycled materials,  such as wreaths and tree decorations.

Michelle and her family are gearing up for their second Christmas in the White House, which has been adorned with 19 trees.

Other features of this year's decor includes a giant replica of the Obamas' dog Bo, made out of 40,000 pipe cleaners – described by Michelle as "very cool" and "very soft".

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And the Portuguese Water Dog features elsewhere in the building. A model replica of Bo, made out of marzipan, sits in front of a 350-pound White House gingerbread house.

"This is a very exciting time here at the White House for me and my family," said Michelle.

"And I have to say the house looks more beautiful than it did last year. It's really something special."

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