Jill Biden unveils White House ice rink

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First lady Jill Biden on Tuesday unveiled an ice rink on the White House South Lawn as a part of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s holiday display.

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US First Lady Jill Biden (R) speaks alongside US figure skater Brian Boitano during the unveiling of the holiday ice skating rink, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 29, 2023. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Biden, wearing boots out on the ice, recalled that when she was a child, she and her sisters loved to skate on the Delaware River.

“What’s more magical and wonderful and joyful than being on an ice rink in the South Lawn of the White House?” she said. 

The rink won’t be open to the general public, but the White House says children of military families, frontline workers, first responders and local school children will be invited to skate during December. 

At the White House to mark the opening of the rink was Brian Boitano, the 1988 U.S. Olympic and World champion, and Snoopy, the famous beagle from Peanuts. 

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US figure skater Kimberly Navarro (L) performs during the unveiling of the holiday ice skating rink, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 29, 2023. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Bidens aren’t the the first presidential family to have an ice rink on the White House grounds. 

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter also had an ice rink built on the South Lawn, according to the Associated Press. Rosalynn Carter was buried Wednesday in Plains, Georgia, after she died over the weekend at the age of 96.

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FILE – President Jimmy Carter calls for other performers to join himself, Santa Claus and ice skating star Peggy Fleming for pictures at a White House reception for U.S. Secret Service agents and military aides in Washington, Dec. 22, 1980.  Dennis Cook / AP

This year’s holiday theme at the White House is embracing your inner child and experiencing the magic, joy and wonder of the season. The White House now features 98 Christmas trees, more than 142,000 lights, and nearly 34,000 ornaments. 

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Skaters perform during the unveiling of the holiday ice skating rink, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 29, 2023. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

“Children have something to teach us, if we are wise enough to listen,” the first lady said when she revealed the display on Monday. “How to remain present, even as a busy world beckons us. How to open ourselves up to love and wonder and to marvel at every moment, no matter how ordinary.”