The unusually blistery Dec. 14 evening did not deter the people with invitations to the White House Christmas Party from enduring the time-consuming security checks to get inside. And it did not deter AFRO’s Washington Bureau Chief Zenitha Prince and Executive Editor Talibah Chikwendu, either.

Inside, the annual bash quickly warmed up; there were things to see, everywhere. The first stop was a table with cards to send thanks and greetings to deployed soldiers unable to make it home for the holidays. An a cappella group entertained those sharing greetings and looking at the exhibits of previous presidents’ holiday cards.

Guests then flowed into the area outside the China Room, where beverages were being offered, and military hosts and hostesses directed them up a stairway, to the main entertaining area. There a military band provided the music. And in two large rooms, one at each of the hall, were banquet tables lined with a variety of foods, including a fully-stocked table of desserts, with fresh fruit, Christmas cookies, tarts, cheese cake and a multitude of other holiday goodies.

Between those rooms, accessible from the hallway or through doorways that connect them, were seating areas and Christmas trees in the famous Red, Blue and Green rooms. Each room, decorated in its color, contained a similarly decorated tree. Within this technicolored splendor, guests—from a variety of backgrounds—talked and ate together, while gleaning historical tidbits about the rooms and displayed artifacts from military hosts and hostesses.

At the assigned time, guests made their way downstairs for a short, regulated moment with President and Mrs. Obama, which included a photo with the first couple. As genuinely warm and inviting as the military hosts were, no one was more so than Mrs. Obama.

The music was playing and food was available well into the evening and from all appearances, a good time was had by all.