by Maria Puente, USA TODAY
You can't go wrong with Bo Obama, as the first dog joined first lady Michelle Obama for the annual preview of the White House holiday decorations, which feature a starring role for - who else?- Bo Obama!
There are 40 "Bo-flake" ornaments throughout the house, with little cutout images of the first family's Portuguese water dog. There's a life-size replica of Bo, with a string of lights in his mouth, in the East Garden Room. And there's a huge statue of him next to the 300-pound White House gingerbread replica in the State Dining Room.
Also, visitors to the White House get a Bo bookmark that sends them on a scavenger hunt for the "Bo-ornaments" stashed in eight rooms.
"Bo is kind of big,don't you think?," Mrs. O told the chuckling audience of military families invited to attend this year's preview, according to the White House transcript. "That basically represents Bo's standing in the house. He is almost as big as the house. He is such a huge personality."
Bo himself, looking very well-groomed, sported a jingle-bell collar, and was quickly swarmed by young guests when he arrived for the festivities.
The first lady looked pretty good, too, dressed in a shimmery gold skirt suit.
As usual, the White House Christmas decor was impressive, with a theme of "Joy to All." This year's decorations include 54 live Christmas trees, plus handmade items that can be done at home, including patriotic wreaths and ornaments wrapped in red, white and blue yarn to fit with Mrs. Obama's emphasis on supporting military families.
The nearly gingerbread house is a sight to behold: It's made of more than 175 pounds of gingerbread and 50 pounds of chocolate. The White House said pastry chef Bill Yosses mixed wheat, rye and white-flour gingerbread to reproduce the sandstone color of the house prior to 1798, when it was first painted white.
More than 90,000 visitors are expected to pass through the White House during the holiday season.
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