(White House Press Release, November 30, 2020)
The First Family is celebrating their fourth Christmas in the White House. This year’s theme, “America the Beautiful,” is a tribute to the majesty of our great Nation. From coast to coast, our country is blessed with boundless natural wonders. The timeless treasures represented in this year’s holiday showcase remind us of the true American spirit. Together, we celebrate this land we are all proud to call home.
Upon entering the East Wing, visitors are welcomed by The Gold Star Family Tree, an annual tradition among the holiday decorations. Draped in blue, the color of perseverance and justice, it pays tribute to our American heroes and their families who walk beside them in service. This year, families who decorated the tree placed the name of their fallen family member on ribbon that will adorn the tree.
Around the corner, the East Colonnade celebrates the diverse landscapes found across this great Nation. Separated by region, classical urns hold foliage representative of the official tree of each state and territory. Just beyond the gallery of greenery, the East Garden Room displays holiday cards sent by first families over the past twelve administrations. This year’s card, shimmering in gold, shows the unique landscape of America, the beautiful.
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.
Nearby is the China Room which houses the historic collection of presidential china patterns and is modeled to show the joy that home can bring to us all. The home scene is set for timeless traditions and tasty treats, capturing the importance of time spent together during the holiday season. Stockings for the First Family hang on the fireplace, one of the 28 historic fireplaces throughout the White House.
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.
Moving into the Parlors, the Green Room features the beauty of American wildlife. Vignettes in the windows showcase the diversity of creatures that flutter and find refuge among our native landscape.
As one moves into the Blue Room, the official White House Christmas tree illuminates the room and stands over eighteen feet in height. This majestic Fraser fir showcases the splendor of our country through the unique perspective of America’s children. Students across the country were asked to artistically depict what makes their state beautiful by highlighting the people, places, and things that capture the spirit of the state in which they call home. Glistening on the branches, their mini masterpieces collectively showcase America, the beautiful. The gleaming tree, bedecked with rays of yellow and gold, unites us in our common goal of building a brighter future for America’s children, aligning closely with First Lady Melania Trump’s BE BEST initiative which focuses on giving all children the best opportunity to succeed in life.
As one moves to the Red Room, 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.
As one moves to the State Dining room, we continue to celebrate “America the Beautiful.” This year’s Gingerbread House, a delicious masterpiece displayed on the iconic eagle pier table, replicates the West Wing, Executive Residence, East Wing, and for the first time, the Rose Garden and the First Ladies’ Garden. Constructed from 275 pounds of gingerbread dough, 110 pounds of pastillage dough, 30 pounds of gum paste, 25 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of royal icing. The White House pastry team took extra care in making sure that every detail, down to the smallest blossom, paid homage to the beauty of “America the Beautiful.”
Ending in the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall, guests find themselves overflowed with love, joy, peace, hope, and faith, to reveal the most important gifts of the season.
“I am excited to announce this year’s White House holiday theme, ‘America the Beautiful,’” said First Lady Melania Trump. “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, the bond that all Americans share is an appreciation for our traditions, values, and history, which were the inspiration behind the decorations this year. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who worked to make sure the People’s House was ready for the holiday season. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.”