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Magazines help launch 'Diplomacy at Home'

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Jura Koncius:

While the Obama holiday elves were refurbishing ornaments and harvesting roots from the garden to hang on the White House trees, across the street at Blair House and in Foggy Bottom, a high-voltage Christmas decorating frenzy was on.

With just two weeks' notice, editors from a half-dozen lifestyle magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, This Old House and Traditional Home, created trees hung with quartz crystals and wrapped in red "Truman Family" tree skirts for Blair House, the president's guesthouse; and at the State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms, they swagged greenery (very, very carefully) around $100 million worth of American antiques. Their deadline was a reception Monday night at the State Department to honor families of government employees currently serving unaccompanied tours overseas in places considered too dangerous to bring family along.

Called "Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays," the event was reminiscent of the high-profile gigs that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall pulled off at the White House a decade ago, when one was first lady and the other social secretary. Marshall contacted the Magazine Publishers of America for design help and, despite tough times in that industry and minuscule end-of-year budgets, the six publications (Better Homes & Gardens, Mother Earth News and Natural Home were the other three) volunteered to do holiday makeovers on 17 historic spaces.

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Photo by Susan Biddle for The Washington Post

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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