The first Christmas tree was brought into the White House in 1889 during Benjamin Harrison’s administration, but First Lady Lou Henry Hoover was the first to decorate an “official” Christmas tree in the Blue Room in 1929. Ever since, each of the first ladies have carried on the tradition. Here, a look at the White House Christmas decorations throughout the years.
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Nancy decorated the main Christmas tree in the White House in the Blue Room with white lights, gold ornaments and host of angels.
Michelle Obama lets children play with her dog at the 2012 White House Christmas party.
President Dwight Eisenhower posed with his family during the holiday season in front of the White House.
First Lady Melania Trump in the Grand Foyer of the White house as she tours the decorations (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
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See more first ladies around the White House Christmas tree.
Never one not to mock his enemies, Donald Trump mocked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, saying that she and co-host Joe Scarborough had approached him before his inauguration asking to “join” him.
He noted that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at the time, and that he said no.
For their first White House Christmas, President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, posed for a photo in the living quarters of the executive mansion in front of a tree decorated with strands of popcorn, tinsel and a mix of ornaments.
Betty showed the press two dove ornaments before hanging them on the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room in 1976.
Of course, the Kennedys weren’t the only family to make Christmas a family affair. Despite the economic turmoil of the late ’30s, the Roosevelts brought together their entire family for a celebration, featuring minimalist, tinsel-heavy decor.
President Reagan and Nancy posed for an official portrait in front of the 18.5-foot Fraser fir that came from Eric and Gloria Sundback’s farm in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The Sundbacks wouldn’t provide another official White House Christmas tree until 2009, when a Douglas fir from their farm was picked as the Obama’s tree.
For her second Christmas in the White House, Rosalynn decorated a 20-foot Christmas tree with gold ornaments and surrounded the bottom with antique toys and a miniature house.
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Donald Trump caught some flack when he tweeted a video showing him wrestling down an individual whose head had been replaced by a CNN avatar. Mr Trump has singled CNN out in particular with his chants of “fake news”.
That’s a change from the Obama years, when the annual cards offered more generic sentiments of “Season’s Greetings” or wishes for happy holidays. Mr Trump has vowed to put “Christmas” back at the centre of the holidays. During the presidential campaign, he complained that saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” amounted to “chipping away at Christianity.”
The first lady’s office previewed the decorations before welcoming students from a nearby military base in Maryland to see the decorations and try some Christmas-themed arts and crafts, such as building gumdrop trees and decorating garland.
Early in his presidency, Donald Trump reportedly hung up the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the foreign leader angered him over refugee plans. Mr Trump later said that it was the “worst call” he had had so far.
Lady Bird decorated the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room with a colorful mix of ornaments and popcorn strands, as was popular in the late 60s.
The 350-pound (160-kilogram) gingerbread house in the State Dining Room offers a view of the White House from the South Lawn, with wreaths on every window and a U.S. flag flying from its sugary rooftop.
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President Roosevelt posed with his family in front of the White House Christmas tree, which was decorated with long strands of tinsel.
Rosalynn Carter decorated the Blue Room’s Christmas tree with a colorful array of ornaments and white twinkling lights.
First Lady Pat Nixon decorated the White House Christmas tree in 1970 with tinsel and glass ornaments.
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More than 25,000 visitors are expected to tour the White House for the holidays and the kitchen is ready: 31,000 cookies have been baked, including 15,000 sugar cookies, many of which end up in purses for the trip home.
On his last Christmas, President Kennedy posed for an informal family portrait with his wife, children, dogs, as well as his brother and sister-in-law and their family.
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Laura Bush opted for a look more similar to Trump’s, choosing snow-frosted Christmas trees and red poinsettias for a more traditional look.
Among the Christmas standards is an 18-by-6-foot (5.5-by-1.8-meter) Balsam fir from Wisconsin in the traditional spot in the Blue Room, decorated with ornaments bearing the seals of every state and US territory. A separate tree near the East Wing entrance is dedicated to families that lost loved ones in the military.
After Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas, Donald Trump paid the area a visit. While his response to the disaster in Houston was generally applauded, the President picked up some flack when he gave a speech outside Houston (he reportedly did not visit disaster zones), and praised the size of the crowds there.
While addressing the issue of black athletes not standing for the national anthem in protest of police brutality, the President made reference to his catchphrase from reality TV show “The Apprentice”.
Nancy Reagan, clad in Chanel pumps, and actor Dom Deluise celebrate Christmas at the White House in 1987.
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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, and his wife Mary Wilson, visited the White House just before Christmas in 1965. Here, Lady Bird Johnson and her husband show them the White House Christmas tree, which was decorated with popcorn strands and an eclectic mix of ornaments.
A banner that declared “Peace On Earth to Men of Goodwill” framed the south lawn during the Johnson administration.
“Mrs. Trump’s impeccable style is seen in the beautifully understated decorations and give a great nod to the First Families that came before them,” Ms Pickens said.
FDR and his family are seen here on the South Lawn of the White House on Christmas Day before going to church services.
Shortly after becoming the First Lady of the United States, Betty Ford took charge of the White House Christmas decorations in 1974. In 1974, she decorated the main tree in the Blue Room with large ribbons and a mix of traditional ornaments.
First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Ever one for diplomacy, the President reportedly referred to African nations as “s***hole countries”. Asked to confirm this when meeting with Nigeria’s President Buhari, Mr. Trump stated that there are “some countries that are in very bad shape.”
Nancy Reagan’s holiday celebrations differed from those who came before and after her: Reagan brought in actor friends to play Santa for her decoration reveal party, including Dom Deluise and Mr. T.
Jennifer Pickens, an expert on White House East Wing traditions, predicted that Ms Trump’s window wreaths will become another tradition that no future first lady will want to end.
The family Christmas card is framed and on display, along with cards from past presidents. “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” says the card signed by President Donald Trump, the first lady and Barron, their 11-year-old son.
When both Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush were first ladies, each selected elaborate angel or stuffed animal ornaments, making for heavily decorated trees and marking a less minimalist aesthetic than that of more recent years.
President Nixon posed for a family portrait in front of a tinsel-decorated Christmas tree in the Blue Room with his wife, two daughters, and their husbands.
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Conveniently, he says that all of those illegal votes went to Ms Clinton. (There is no evidence to support that level of widespread voter fraud.)
During President Barack Obama’s final Christmas in office, larger-than-life replicas of family dogs Bo and Sunny greeted visitors in the East Wing. Fifty-six Lego gingerbread houses, one for each state and U.S. territory, were nestled in the branches of the trees that decorated the State Dining Room.
“Are you the first lady?” asked one incredulous boy who then moved in for a hug. Classmates quickly followed for hugs of their own.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy started the tradition of picking themes for the White House Christmas decorations each year. In 1961, she decorated the official tree with ornaments depicting characters from the “Nutcracker Suite” ballet.
The Eisenhowers held the record for the most Christmas trees in the White House — 26 — for years, a number which has been eclipsed many times in the last few decades.
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Pat decorated the Cross Hall of the White House in 1972 with holly and artificial Christmas trees.
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Wearing a winter white dress with cape-like sleeves and gold-toned heels, Mrs. Trump descended a staircase from the residence to the Grand Foyer and spent a few minutes taking in the ballerinas before she joined a group of children making paper wreaths and other decorations in the State Dining Room. The dancers echoed the first themed Christmas at the White House, Jacqueline Kennedy’s “Nutcracker Suite” in 1961.
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Among the new touches this year: On the outside, wreaths topped with red bows adorn every White House window. Inside, glistening wintry branches line both sides of an East Wing hallway that leads guests to a tree decorated with the Trump family’s official Christmas ornament, a gold-toned bauble featuring the presidential coat of arms surrounded by a wreath of holly.
“The decorations are up!” Ms Trump tweeted about the Trump family’s first Christmas in office. “@WhiteHouse is ready to celebrate! Wishing you a Merry Christmas & joyous holiday season!”
Caroline Kennedy looks at the White House holiday decorations in 1961.
President Roosevelt posed with members of his family in front of the White House before leaving for a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.
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Melania Trump unveiled her Christmas decor for her first celebration in the White House last week, revealing a “Swan Lake” theme with sleek, white branches and snow-frosted trees.
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President Eisenhower gathered his relatives together for a photo in front of a Christmas tree decorated with silver tinsel.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump couldn’t help but to ask for prayers for the ratings on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s show to be good. Schwarzenegger took over as host of “The Apprentice” — which buoyed Mr Trump’s celebrity status years ago.
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For her “old-fashioned turn-of-the-century Christmas” decor theme in 1985, Nancy had Larry Hagman, from the TV show Dallas, dress up as Santa for the press tour of the White House.
More than 150 volunteers from 29 states spent 1,600 hours over the holiday weekend decking the White House halls. The White House said Mrs. Trump chose every detail of the decor and did a final check late Sunday after returning from the family’s Thanksgiving at their estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Visitors watched the Christmas decorations go up in the East Room, while President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had another tree erected on the second floor of the White House for his family.
The decor includes 71 wreaths, 53 Christmas trees, more than 18,000 lights, more than 12,000 ornaments, more than 3,100 yards (about 2,800 meters) of ribbon and more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) of garland, the White House said.
Going back even further, the Kennedy family celebrated their Christmases in bold fashion. With two young children roaming the White House, the Kennedys enjoyed the revelry with stacks of presents under the tree.
In 1983, Mr. T, from the TV show The A-Team, dressed as Santa to help Nancy unveil the White House Christmas decorations.
In 1935, members of President Roosevelt’s staff decorated the exterior with simple Christmas trees.
By contrast, former first lady Michelle Obama marked her first Christmas in the White House with brighter colors, choosing bold baubles to hang from the trees. Obama also highlighted her pups, Sunny and Bo.
During his first-ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump tried out a new nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un: Rocket Man. He later tweaked it to be “little Rocket Man” as the two feuded, and threatened each other with nuclear war.
During that speech, he also threatened to totally annihilate North Korea.
The Roosevelts had many Christmas traditions, including lighting their tree with real candles and FDR himself reading Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol to his family, according to FDR’s butler Alonzo Fields.
In the midst of World War II, Winston Churchill came to America to spend Christmas with the Roosevelts at the White House and discuss how to defeat Hitler.
She went for a homey look in 1975 when she decorated the Christmas tree in the White House with strands of popcorn, wooden ornaments and paper chains.
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The holiday celebrations get underway Monday with a party for the volunteer decorators and will continue into December with receptions and parties — sometimes two a day — for the next several weeks, including a party Friday for the news media. Trump regularly dismisses the media as “fake news,” including in a tweet Monday.
Even the dogs got their own Christmas tree during the Nixon administration. Pasha, Tricia Nixon’s Yorkshire terrier, posed in the White House library with Vicki, Julie Eisenhower’s miniature poodle, and King Timahoe, President Nixon’s Irish setter.
Just before Christmas in 1958, President Eisenhower got his family together in front of the Christmas trees outside for a portrait.
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