Every year, Americans wait eagerly to see how the White House will be adorned for Christmas. A tradition that has spanned generations, the White House Christmas decorations represent something everyone can come together to enjoy. There’s a sense of pride in seeing the people’s house well-adorned and festive. And now for 2020, outgoing First Lady Melania Trump has revealed her final theme: “America the Beautiful.”
America the Beautiful
This year, the First Lady wanted to show appreciation for the essential workers that have kept the country afloat in 2020’s difficult landscape. CNN reports, “Highlights of this year’s display — coming during a global pandemic — include a tribute to essential workers in the Red Room, including a light-up ceramic post office, and a tree with ornaments celebrating frontline workers, including a trash truck, scientist, caregiver, lab coat and nurse hat.”
The First Lady has said of the display, “We salute America’s everyday heroes who serve as first responders and frontline workers. Handmade ornaments highlight the many professionals and volunteers who serve their communities with a spirit of generosity.”
The Decorations are Elegant and More Well-Received Than Last Year
Outgoing First Lady Trump’s 2018 decorations were not as well-received as 2020’s. They featured a grim-looking line of blood red Christmas trees that some jokingly referred to as, “Handmaidens,” a la “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood. First Lady Trump did redeem herself in 2019 with a modern and compelling theme titled, “the Spirit of America.”
This year, the outgoing First Lady has once again opted for the traditional and the elegant, eschewing the edgy look of 2018.
Once a guest enters the East Wing, they are greeted by the Gold Star Family tree, a White House tradition that pays homage to families who have lost loved ones in service to the country.
The East Colonnade boasts diverse and regional representations of what makes our country great. Large urns display foliage representing each state, grouped by region.
Per the WhiteHouse.gov, “Entering the Ground Floor Corridor is the Vermeil Room, a collection made up of more than 1,600 pieces, many of which are on display. To preserve the White House for the American people, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy established the ‘People’s House’ as a living museum and laid the foundation for expanding the diversity of the collection. Sharing in this love for arts and culture, President John F. Kennedy’s official portrait is featured on the graceful trees.
The next stop, the White House Library, is home to a collection of more than 2,700 classic works that provide first-hand accounts of progress in our Nation’s history. In recognition of this year’s 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Library shines a spotlight on women who were pioneers for gender equality and the impact of their voices on our Nation’s story. It also contains a tribute to Mrs. Trump’s 19th Amendment child art competition hosted earlier in the year, with all of the winning art displayed on the base of the tabletop tree. The décor highlights women at the forefront of American achievements who have paved the way for generations to come.”
From there, guests can enter the China room which displays the presidential collection of China patterns and recalls home, and where the First Family’s stockings are hung.
WhiteHouse.gov shares, “Upstairs in the East Room, visitors will see planes, trains, and automobiles race around the trees, through the ribbons, and between the twinkling lights. Since the creation of our Nation, America has been on the move. From the First Transcontinental Railroad to the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the East Room celebrates our monumental triumphs in innovation and technology. In a 1909 ceremony in this room, President William Taft recognized Wilbur and Orville Wright for their unprecedented achievements in aerodynamics. As a country, we proudly commend those who embrace the power of possibility, fueling the next chapter of our history at sea, on land, in skies, and beyond.”
The Blue Room hosts the official White House Christmas tree. Brilliant, elegant, and richly appointed, the tree stands over 18 feet high. A Frasier fir, the official tree wears the artistic renderings of American schoolchildren asked to depict what makes their state special.
A True Panoply of Festive Cheer
CNN reports, “This year, there are 106 wreaths, 62 trees, more than 1,200 feet of garland, more than 3,200 lights, more than 17,000 bows, and more than 150 types of foliage and floral, according to the first lady’s office.”
The outgoing President Donald Trump and First Lady will host a number of holiday parties during their last holiday in the White House. The parties will be marked by pandemic-sensitive precautions and restrictions as coronavirus numbers continue to climb.