It’s that time of year again: the annual White House Christmas decorations reveal. What should have been a blip on the White House social calendar became an all-out culture war during the Trump administration when the then-first lady trussed up her home’s hallways with infamous blood-red trees in 2018 and then got caught in a secret recording last year asking, “Who gives a fuck about Christmas stuff and decorations?”
Jill Biden has opted for a much less Scrooge-ian route, using her first year in office to celebrate “Gifts From the Heart,” the official theme of holiday 2021.
According to the AP, Biden was inspired by the people she’s met while campaigning for her husband. “The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, and nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace,” Biden wrote in a commemorative guidebook. “These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives. These are the gifts from the heart.”
What this means visually: a gingerbread White House surrounded by other gingerbread businesses, like a grocery store, firehouse, and gas station. Emily Goodin, a politics reporter for the Daily Mail, attended a press tour of the White House, and showed off the State Dining Room, adorned with photos of past first families, and stockings on the fireplace with names of the Biden grandchildren.
The decorations were made possible by over 100 volunteers, according to the AP. They turned the Executive Mansion into a winter wonderland filled with 6,000 feet of ribbon and more than 10,000 ornaments.
A second-grade class from Walford, Maryland, helped show off the work in a reveal on Monday morning, when Biden planned to read from her children’s book, Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. A National Guard member and his family will speak, too, paying homage to the military families who might not be together for the holidays. The pandemic has nixed public tours of the White House, which means fewer visitors to see the work up close.
Despite Melania Trump’s apparent hatred of tinsel and wreaths, the Trumps plan to unveil their own Christmas decorations on Dec. 3 in a Naples, Florida, fundraiser. Tickets go for $10,000 per person, which allows access to the party and “one photo taken with the president,” according to the event website.