WASHINGTON (AP) — Bo's paw prints are all over Christmas at the White House this year.
A larger-than-life version of President Barack Obama's 2-year-old Portuguese water dog made of 40,000 twisted pipe cleaners is one of the first things tourists and other holiday guests will see when they visit the White House this month.
Bo also features prominently in the 400-pound, white chocolate-covered gingerbread White House. A version of the pooch, made from almond paste, sits on the grounds near a replica of Michelle Obama's fruit and vegetable garden.
"This year, Bo has taken on increased importance in the house so we made him a little bigger," White House pastry chef Bill Yosses told reporters Wednesday as the White House previewed the holiday decor. Yosses' fingers were still stained black from sculpting the mini Bo.
The president often says Bo is the most popular member of his family.
Bo even joined Obama, Mrs. Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha Obama in signing the family's official Christmas card — with his paw print.
Mrs. Obama settled on a theme of "Simple Gifts" for the holiday season, emphasizing the simple things that bring joy at Christmas. Many White House decorations also are made from basic — and, in some cases, reusable — materials such as wood, newspaper and magazine pages.
The White House was holding its first holiday reception Wednesday for the dozens of volunteers who came from around the country and have been working on the decorations since eating their last bite of Thanksgiving turkey.
More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the White House by the end of the month.
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