TOP News

US: Bidens open holidays with Christmas tree and 'friendsgiving'

Joy turns to horror as SUV speeds into Christmas parade

  Joy turns to horror as SUV speeds into Christmas parade WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms turned deadly in an instant, as an SUV sped through a barricade and into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee while spectators watched in horror. One video showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was struck Sunday. A father talked of going “from one crumpled body to the other” in search of his daughter. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were among those hit. © Provided by Associated Press A police officer uses a flashlight while looking for evidence in downtown Waukesha, Wis.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden opened the holiday season at the White House by breaking off a sprig from the official Blue Room tree and giving it — and a big smooch — to her toddler grandson.

President Joe Biden serves dinner during a visit to soldiers at Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Provided by Associated Press Biden

“Look how beautiful this is,” the first lady said of the 18 1/2-foot (5.6 meter) Fraser fir that was delivered by wagon to her Pennsylvania Avenue doorstep by Clydesdale horses named Ben and Winston.

“It is beautiful. It's magnificent, really,” she said Monday.

The first lady later joined President Joe Biden for a visit to the Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina to celebrate “friendsgiving” with service members and military families.

'Tis the season: First lady Jill Biden to receive official White House Christmas tree

  'Tis the season: First lady Jill Biden to receive official White House Christmas tree It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the nation's capital.It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the nation's capital.

The two events set off a White House holiday season that is expected to be much more festive this year, as public health officials encourage those vaccinated against COVID-19 to get together in person, instead of begging Americans to stay home, as they've done for holidays past.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden serve dinner during a visit to Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Provided by Associated Press President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden serve dinner during a visit to Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The holiday tree was presented by the father-and-son team of Rusty and Beau Estes of Peak Farms in Jefferson, North Carolina — a three-time winner of the National Christmas Tree Association’s annual contest. The winner gets to present its official tree to the White House.

Bidens open holidays with Christmas tree and 'friendsgiving'

  Bidens open holidays with Christmas tree and 'friendsgiving' WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden opened the holiday season at the White House on Monday by breaking off a sprig from the official Blue Room tree and giving it - and a big smooch — to her toddler grandson. “Look how beautiful this is,” the first lady said of the 18 1/2-foot (5.6 meter) Fraser fir that was delivered to her Pennsylvania Avenue doorstep by Clydesdale horses named Ben and Winston, who pulled a wagon carrying the tree. “It is beautiful. It's magnificent, really,” she said.

First lady Jill Biden waves to people watching as she looks over the official White House Christmas Tree, grown in North Carolina, as it arrives at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) © Provided by Associated Press First lady Jill Biden waves to people watching as she looks over the official White House Christmas Tree, grown in North Carolina, as it arrives at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Son Hunter Biden, his wife, Melissa, and their toddler, Beau, were among a sizable group of White House aides, guests and others who braved crisp winds to watch the brief ceremony marking the start of the administration's first Christmas in the White House.

The Fraser fir will be decorated in the coming days and displayed in the Blue Room, a tradition that dates back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, after a chandelier is removed so it can be tethered to the ceiling for safety. White House grounds superintendent Dale Haney went to the farm in October to pick out a tree. Peak Farms also supplied the official White House tree in 2008 and 2012.

Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden officials consider more Ukraine aid

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden officials consider more Ukraine aid It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.The Biden administration is considering sending military advisers and weaponry to Ukraine as concerns about a possible Moscow invasion intensify.We'll have more on that, plus the Bidens' "Friendsgiving" at Fort Bragg and the status of his new presidential helicopter.For The Hill, I'm Jordan Williams. Write me with tips at [email protected]'s get to it.

The White House Christmas decorations will be revealed on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the first lady said.

Jill Biden was joined by a D.C. Army National Guard family to honor the National Guard's role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, her office said. She has been using her new role to help highlight and rally support for military families from across the country through an initiative named Joining Forces.

At Fort Bragg, the meal was held in a large hanger replete with pumpkin and pine cone centerpieces for about 250 servicemembers and families. Jill Biden spoke first, stepping out from behind a table to walk the room, talking to families about their late son, Beau, who served in the Delaware National Guard, and how she understood how hard it was to be away during holidays. She talked about how proud she was of the troops before introducing the president, who echoed her praise.

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Provided by Associated Press President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“You do so much, your families do so much,” President Biden said. “You’re the finest military the world has ever seen … and I’m so damn proud to be associated with you.”

Europe's Christmas markets warily open as COVID cases rise

  Europe's Christmas markets warily open as COVID cases rise FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The holiday tree is towering over the main square in this central German city, the chestnuts and sugared almonds are roasted, and kids are clambering aboard the merry-go-round just like they did before the pandemic. But a surge in coronavirus infections has left an uneasy feeling hanging over Frankfurt's Christmas market. To savor a mug of mulled wine — a pleasurable rite of winter in pre-pandemic times — masked customers must pass through a one-way entrance to a fenced-off wine hut, stopping at the hand sanitizer station.

After a quick prayer from the chaplain, the Bidens walked behind the serving tables, donned gloves and aprons and started dishing out the meal to waiting troops. Jill Biden scooped mashed potatoes, the president the stuffing. The troops were handed chocolate chip cookies with the presidential seal, and the long table was full of food including chocolate cakes.

On Tuesday, the Bidens plan to participate in a to-be-announced local service project before resuming their family tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. Biden put tradition on hold last fall over COVID-19 concerns and hunkered down over Thanksgiving dinner in Delaware with just his wife, their daughter and their son-in-law.

“Last Thanksgiving, for the first time, it was just the four of us,” Biden said earlier this month as he commented on the nation's progress against the coronavirus.

___

Jaffe reported from Fort Bragg, N.C. Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting 2021 set for Wednesday evening. .
It's time for the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting, and the ceremony starts at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday in New York City.Last week's main attraction was the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

See also