Christmas at the White House 2020: “America the Beautiful”

Tradition, innovation, women’s suffrage, and a 500 pound gingerbread house.

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The National Christmas Tree is seen at President’s Park, the Ellipse of the White House, Wednesday evening, Dec, 2, 2020, in Washington, D.C. The traditional lighting is featured in the virtual 98th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony event can be viewed on-demand at thenationaltree.org starting Thursday evening, Dec. 3, 2020 and throughout the holiday season. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

The halls have been well and truly decked at the White House this holiday season, and White House staff members, decorators, holiday volunteers, and the First Lady have created something truly special for 2020.

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First Lady Melania Trump receives the White House Christmas Tree Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at the North Portico of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

“America the Beautiful” was the theme for this year’s White House Christmas celebration.

“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,” according to a White House statement on the 2020 holiday decor.

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First Lady Melania Trump poses for a photo with Dan and Anne Taylor, of Dan and Bryan Trees in West Virginia, and his family in front of the White House Christmas Tree Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at the North Portico of the White House. Taylor’s family won the 2020 National Christmas Tree Association contest to have their Fraser fir tree placed in the Blue Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The Taylor Family won this year’s National Christmas Tree Association contest, and were honored to provide the traditional White House Christmas tree for the Blue Room.

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First Lady Melania Trump reviews the Christmas decorations Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in the Cross Hall of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

“Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to ‘redecorate’ it,” to honor the remarkable history of the building. “It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. It is a question of scholarship.”

It is advice that First Lady Melania Trump has taken to heart, even meticulously restoring the historical roses to the White House Rose Garden last year. Like Jackie Kennedy, First Lady Melania Trump has faced a great deal of criticism for her efforts.

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First Lady Melania Trump walks alongside the White House Express train in the East Room of the White House Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, during her review of the Christmas decorations. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The famous Vermeil Room features a collection of more than 1600 pieces, many on display this year. Students from all over the country submitted artwork to be included in the holiday decor.

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Artwork submitted by children for First Lady Melania Trump’s “Building the Movement Exhibit: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage” decorates the Vermeil Room of the White House Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
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mages of historic female American leaders and artists decorate the Christmas trees in the Vermeil Room of the White House Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, many of 2020’s decorations pay tribute to the brave pioneers who fought for gender equality. In 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

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The White House Express train decorates the center table of the East Room of the White House Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
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The gingerbread house, depicting the Executive Residence, the West and East Wings, and for the first time the Rose Garden and the First Ladies’ Garden, is seen in the State Dining Room of the White House Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

This year’s masterpiece of a gingerbread house depicts the “People’s House” in all its delightful, and delightfully edible, glory. With 385 pounds of dough, 25 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of royal icing, the White House pastry team worked tirelessly to pay tribute to “America the Beautiful”.

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The mirrors of the East Room of the White House are decorated with planes for the Christmas season Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

“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 intercontinental railroad to the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the East Room celebrates our monumental triumphs in innovation and technology.” — WH

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The mantle of the Red Room of the White House is seen decorated for the Christmas season in honor of our Nation’s First Responders Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
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The China Room of the White House is seen decorated for the Christmas season Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

In front of one of 28 historic fireplaces, the White House China Room is reminiscent of home comforts and recalls vividly the family kitchen. Stockings for the First Family are hung with care over the hearth.

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President Donald J. Trump, joined by First Lady Melania Trump, delivers remarks during the pre-recorded National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, on the Blue Room Balcony of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

“I am excited to announce this year’s White House holiday theme, ‘America the Beautiful. 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.” — First Lady Melania Trump

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President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk together in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, returning from their trip to Valdosta, Ga. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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