When will HGTV’s White House Christmas 2021 be on TV?

Bruno Cooke November 24, 2021
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Fans of Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are revelling in anticipation as HGTV’s White House Christmas 2021 looms – or rather, shines in tinselled luminescence – just round the corner. When will it air? What will viewers see? When will the White House Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony take place this year? These and more: Welcome to a White House White Christmas, with HGTV.

When to watch HGTV’s White House Christmas 2021

This year, HGTV will take viewers on a magical journey through 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, aka the White House. The date? December 12. 

The hour-long special will air at 6pm ET/PT – that’s 3pm on the West Coast, 4pm MT or 5pm CT – on (you guessed it) HGTV. Last year, it aired on December 13.

White House Christmas is an HGTV original special that first aired in 1998. Genevieve Gorder took over as host in 2009, Egypt Sherrod in 2016 and Alison Victoria in 2017 – she has hosted since.

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The 99th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place 10 days earlier, on Thursday, December 2, 2021, on The Ellipse in President’s Park, south of the White House. LL Cool J will host.

What can viewers expect to see during this year’s HGTV White House Christmas?

Decorating the White House for Christmas is apparently a three-day project. It involves spectacular trees, “breathtaking” decorations, and “epic” gingerbread creations.

Before you scoff at the notion that a gingerbread creation can be “epic”, know that it’s a tradition that goes back decades. To the 1960s, in fact.

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“Displayed on a 1902 mahogany eagle console table in front of a gilded pier mirror in the State Dining Room,” write William Bushong and John Botello for The White House Historical Association, “the official gingerbread house became an annual Christmas tradition during the Nixon administration.”

In 1993, pastry chef Roland Mesnier created a “nearly 100-pound” gingerbread house replica of the White House – to scale. Over time, he expanded the original concept to encompass “a college of five gingerbread houses”.

How different is this year’s White House Christmas likely to be from last year’s?

First Lady Jill Biden’s response to White House Christmas has already prompted comparisons to Melania Trump’s.

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The former First Lady’s last duties during the Trump Administration were Christmas-related. She oversaw the holiday decorations in 2020 before exiting the White House shortly afterwards.

A former aide apparently recorded her saying, “Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right? Correct?”

Jill Biden’s response chimes with a more traditional view of the festivities. As someone would put it, “a normal, happy Christmas returns to the White House” in 2021.

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Bruno is a postgraduate student studying global journalism, with research interests in the intersection of the media, storytelling, culture and politics. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Packs Light and Forge Press, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com. He is a Student Ambassador for Tortoise Media, a big fan of Freddie Mercury and a novelist – his debut novel, Reveries, is available on Amazon.