It’s the last Christmas at the White House for the Trump family, although US President Donald Trump continues to insist – despite evidence to the contrary – that he won the November 3 election. President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on January 20.
The first lady said that “America’s Beauty” is her theme for the decor, and that it was inspired by Americans’ shared appreciation “for our traditions, our values and our history.”
Frontline workers in a pandemic that has killed more than 266,000 people in the United States and infected more than 13.4 million others are recognized in the red room with a Christmas tree dotted with handmade ornaments , as well as other decorations around the living room.
The Gingerbread White House – a sweet confection made up of over 181 kilograms of dough, gum paste, chocolate and royal icing – is on display in the State Dining Room and for the first time includes the rose garden, which the First Lady recently renovated, and the First Ladies’ Garden.
The ornaments on the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room – a Fraser fir from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which stands over 5.49 meters (18 feet) tall – were designed by students who have been asked by the National Park Service to describe what makes their states beautiful.
A male and a crane are featured in three-dimensional works of art hanging from the windows of the Green Room, where American wildlife is the highlight. Classical urns lining a walkway in the east wing contain groupings of foliage from different parts of the country.
Trees and other decorations in the East Room feature planes, trains, and automobiles – including models of Air Force One – in a nod to the triumphs of American innovation and technology. Gifts wrapped under decorated trees lining the Cross Hall bear labels that say “peace”, “love”, “faith” and “joy”.
The Christmas decor unveiling on Monday came less than two months after Ms Trump was heard on an audio recording using profanity as she complained about the pressure of having to decorate for the holidays in the past. The recording of the July 2018 conversation was made and aired on CNN by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who was fired from the White House earlier that year.
Ms Trump was heard on the recording suggesting that US detention centers offered better support to migrant children separated from their families than what they had at home with their parents. President Donald Trump was then criticized for his administration’s policy of separating families on the US-Mexico border.
“I work like a – my fuck on Christmas stuff… You know who’s talking about Christmas stuff and decorating?” she asked Wolkoff.
“I say I’m working on Christmas planning for Christmas, and they said, ‘Oh, what about the kids?’ That they were separated.
“Where were they saying something when Obama did that?” she says.
Wolkoff published a revealing book about his friendship and breakup with Ms Trump, which Wolkoff blames for not standing up for her after questions arose about spending for Trump’s 2017 inauguration, which Wolkoff helped to produce.
This year, some 125 volunteers from across the country used 62 trees, 106 wreaths, over 366 yards of garland, over 3,200 strands of lights and 17,000 arches to decorate the 132-room White House over Thanksgiving weekend.
The library is decorated to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Stockings for the president, the first lady and their 14-year-old son Barron hang from a fireplace in the room where presidential porcelain designs are displayed.
After viewing the media decorations, the White House scheduled the first of many holiday receptions on Monday that are expected to be smaller in size given coronavirus concerns.
A few miles north of the White House, the wrapper also came off the Christmas decorations at Vice President Mike Pence’s official residence on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory.
Karen Pence said “Old Fashioned Christmas” was their theme. The house is decorated with natural and rustic elements including pine cones, seasonal berries, burlap, galvanized aluminum and checkered tape, as well as seven Christmas trees and 35 wreaths.