The tradition of decorating using specific looks each Christmas dates back to 1961 when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy tied the decor around a Nutcracker theme. Since then, themes over the years have varied from ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’, ‘Home for the Holidays’, ‘Santa’s Workshop’ and ‘A Season of Stories’ to name but a few.

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Revealed this week, in her fourth and last Christmas at The White House, Melania Trump has picked the theme ‘America the Beautiful’ with which to decorate the People’s House and she officially unveiled it to the press this week. While the exterior of the building is simply decorated, as it is every year, with plain green wreaths fastened with red ribbons. Inside, the presidential rooms and halls have been decorated in a classic, timeless style.  Ornate baubles and fresh flowers in shades of red, green, and gold, together with twinkling lights and delicate handmade ornaments hang from every space, with the decor also incorporating the official trees of each state and territory. In previous years, some of her decorative choices have been rather striking, breaking with a traditional festive look and receiving quite mixed reviews.  A photo posted by on In 2018, bold crimson red topiary trees made from berries lined the East Colonnade were considered by some to be too dramatic, while the Narnia-like bare winter branches from the previous year were criticised as appearing overly cold.  Previous First Ladies have also come under fire for their decor, with Nancy Reagan famously celebrating her ‘Happy Holidays’ theme and receiving a backlash for not omitting the word ‘Christmas’. 

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However, this year’s return to a more traditional choice of decor seems to be a much safer option for the First Lady, with a variety of trees dotted throughout the building decorated with stories that celebrate the nation - from the varied modes of transport used to cross the US to the rich, native wildlife, using a variety of decorations created by students across the country. A photo posted by on Regarding the source of her theme this year, the First Lady says: ‘Over the past four years I have had the honor to travel to some of our nation’s most beautiful landmarks and meet some of the most compassionate and patriotic American citizens.’ ‘From coast to coast,’ she continues, ’the bond that all Americans share is an appreciation for our traditions, values, and history, which were the inspiration behind the decorations this year. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.’

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A photo posted by on