Various agencies, including the Justice Department and the CIA, are cutting back on holiday parties this year, noting the budget crisis and President Obama’s executive order last month directing them to cut spending on travel, swag, smartphones, printing and so on.

But when it comes to fancy holiday parties, nothing beats the two dozen or so planned at the White House that will see some 12,000 guests munching on delicious hors d’ouevres and then savoring the lamb chops, shrimp and other fine cuisine laid out on a long buffet in the State Dining Room. Don’t pass up the eggnog.


Paper Christmas trees and a felt topiary of Bo sit in the East Garden Room of the White House (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

The White House isn’t cutting back because, except for the congressional party; the Democratic National Committee is picking up the tab for these events.

Some parties will include photos with the Obamas. Michelle Obama, if the past is a guide, will look radiant and will greet guests warmly — even at the press parties. At those parties, her husband will look, well, like he would rather be just about anywhere else. Probably so.