A White House Christmas, the History and What Melania Did This Year

A White House Christmas, the History and What Melania Is Doing This Year
Photo Courtesy or WhiteHouse.gov

Christmastime is full of traditions, and one of the things many people in the US enjoy is seeing how the First Family celebrates and decorates.

The traditions of America’s First Families have evolved and changed over the years. Let’s take a look at the history of White House Christmases and what First Lady Melania has done this year.

The Early Years

Up until the 1800s, White House Christmas celebrations were not huge affairs. Decorations were simple and events were private affairs. John Adams and First Lady Abigail hosted the first White House Christmas party in December of 1800. They were inspired to hold the party for their granddaughter who was living with them at the time. Government officials and their children were invited to the party.

The first grand Christmas Party was held in 1835 by President Andrew Jackson. It included games, dinner, dancing and they even had an indoor snowball fight using cotton balls!

Even though a few presidents chose to hold parties, decorations were still very simple. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison put up the first Christmas tree. It was decorated with ornaments, toys and candles. Once the White House had electricity installed in 1891 decorations became more elaborate with the use of Christmas lights.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began a tradition that is still carried on today, selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree which is placed in the blue room. In fact, many First Ladies have played a big part in this tradition.

First Ladies

First Lady Lou Henry Hoover started the tradition of decorating an official Christmas tree in 1929, which was followed by Kennedy’s tradition of selecting a theme. The first theme was the Nutcracker Suite, which featured ornaments of toys, angels, birds and characters from the popular ballet. In 1969, First Lady Patricia Nixon chose the theme of American Flowers, which featured ornaments with the official flower from each state.

In 2002, First Lady Laura Bush wanted to highlight her love of animals with the theme of All Creatures Grand and Small. In 2008, after receiving letters inspired by the events on September 11th the theme was red, white and blue Christmas, also chosen by Bush.

While choosing the theme of the White House’s Christmas decorations might not seem like a huge deal, showing the world how our First Family chooses to celebrate the birth of Jesus is very important. Something that our current First Lady understands and has handled with grace.


First Lady Melania Trump is known for her sense of fashion and great taste, and these qualities definitely carry over in her choice of Christmas decorations.

The first Christmas that Melania was in the White House she chose the theme of Time-Honored Traditions. There were more than 18,000 feet of lights and 12,000 ornaments. Trees were decorated with blue and white ornaments, and white birch tree branches lined the halls. It was a classic and beautiful look.

In 2018, Melania chose the theme of American Treasures. The decorations were patriotic, focusing on the many things that make America great and featured the colors red, white and blue.

This year’s decorations were recently revealed, and all we can say is wow! Melania chose the theme “The Spirit of America,” with a color palette of white, silver, evergreen and red. There is a Gold Star tree decorated by the families of servicemen and the official White House tree is a throwback to First Lady Patricia Nixon, as it’s decorated with the official flowers of each state.

Once again, First Lady Melania has chosen a theme and decorations that are just as beautiful and classy as she is.

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