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Melania Trump lights up White House for Christmas

This is her last Christmas as First Lady, and if her tree trimmings seem unimpeachable by design, that may be the point
Melania Trump.
Melania Trump.

Steven Kurutz   |   Washington   |   Published 02.12.20, 01:08 AM

The First Lady has overseen holiday decorations at the White House since 1961, when Jacqueline Kennedy hung ornaments of toys, birds and angels themed to “The Nutcracker” ballet on a Christmas tree in the Blue Room. This year was no different.

In a one-minute video posted to Twitter on Monday, Melania Trump unveiled this year’s theme, “America the Beautiful”, which she translated as green trees decorated with red, gold and silver ornaments and white lights, a style so traditional that it could grace the cover of Martha Stewart Living. The East Colonnade this year features simple black urns holding plumes of foliage and greenery from each state and territory.

The bold aesthetic choices that drew so much flak and snarky memes in Christmases past are noticeably absent. There are no blood-red trees, as there were in 2018, which various news outlets called “creepy” and “deeply haunted.” There is nothing akin to the icy, underlit branches of 2017 that turned the East Colonnade into what some likened to a barren, dystopian landscape.

This year, a toy train — the “White House Express” — circles a wreath placed on a centre table. Crafty ornaments bear the names of children from Maryland, Michigan and the Northern Mariana Islands. Other decorations celebrate “pioneers for gender equality”, as the First Lady’s office put it, including the artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

This is Melania’s last Christmas at the White House as First Lady, and if her tree trimmings seem unimpeachable by design, that may be the point. She received an early lump of coal in her stocking in September, when her former adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff published a tell-all memoir, Melania and Me.

Among the newsworthy comments Melania made in the book — and in secretly recorded conversations  Winston Wolkoff released — was her complaint about the chore of the holidays.

Melania was heard on the recordings delivering a profanity-laced rant about “Christmas stuff” and decorations. “But I need to do it, right?” she added. 

New York Times News Service

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