Decorating the White House for Christmas is a long-held tradition, with generations of first ladies showing of confections in the shape of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and sparkly ornaments atop Douglas fir trees throughout the residence. So prepare yourself: modern tinkerers are about to enter the fray.
On Thursday, the administration launched the "First-Ever White House 3D-Printed Ornament Challenge," a nationwide competition aimed at harnessing new technology to produce an old-school tchotchke. (Granted, it's debatable whether a Christmas ornament can actually be described by a Yiddish term, but you get our drift.)
The contest, which the White House is undertaking along with the Smithsonian, "invites makers, artists, designers, engineers and anyone interested in 3D modeling and 3D printing to design a winter holiday-inspired ornament." A selection of the winning designs will be printed and displayed in the White House; they will also be displayed on the Smithsonian’s 3D data platform and will end up in a White House ornament collection in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's political history division.
Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 10, aspiring ornament inventors can log onto to Instructables to submit their design and learn more about the competition.
This is just the latest example of Obama and his aides enlisting the aid of geeky, creative types to transform the White House. In June, the president hosted a Maker Faire that featured items including a massive, robotic giraffe and a contraption that let visitors play music by tapping on bananas connected to a laptop.
No word on whether the the 17-foot-high, 2,200-pound steel giraffe known as Russell is going to make a bid to knock the star off its usual spot atop the White House Christmas tree.