First Lady Melania Trump and son, Barron welcome White House Christmas tree
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Melania Trump and son Barron welcomed the official White House Christmas tree November 20. It is a time-honored tradition.
A military quartet played holiday tunes. A horse-drawn wagon carried the tree from Wisconsin up the White House driveway. It is a 19 1/2-foot Balsam fir.
The first lady wore a red turtleneck. She also wore a coat draped over her shoulders. Eleven-year-old Barron wore a dark suit coat. He also wore a white shirt and dark slacks. They circled the tree and then visited with growers Jim and Diane Chapman. The Chapmans own a Wisconsin Christmas tree farm. They won an annual contest sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association.
"This is a beautiful tree. Thank you so much. We will decorate it very nicely." That's what the first lady told the Chapmans and other family members. "I hope you can come and visit with us."
The White House grounds superintendent and the chief usher picked out the tree during a September scouting trip.
Mrs. Trump and Barron gave their symbolic approval. Then the tree was carefully carted off to the Blue Room. It took center stage there. That happened after a slight trim and the removal of a huge chandelier.
President Donald Trump has been eagerly waiting to celebrate a Trump Christmas at the White House. During last year's presidential campaign, he railed against the habit of saying "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Invitations to dozens of holiday parties hosted by the Trumps are going out. The subject line of one emailed invite references a White House "Christmas reception." But the language of the invitation itself refers to a "holiday reception."
The tree for the Blue Room usually arrives the day after Thanksgiving. But it was delivered early this year to accommodate the Trumps. They spent the holiday at their Mar-a-Lago estate. It is in Palm Beach, Florida.
While the Trumps were away, a small army of volunteer decorators and florists from around the country will came to the White House. They spent the holiday weekend transforming the 132-room mansion for Christmas. There is a tree in every public room.
The White House kitchens will go into overdrive preparing all the food that is typically served at the parties. Those foods include cakes, cookies and pies. There is also a gingerbread White House. It is never eaten due to health reasons. In recent years, cookies in the image of former President Barack Obama's dogs Bo and Sunny. Those were always among the first items to be slipped into purses for the trip home.
Trump does not have a pet.
The White House unveiled the holiday decor on November 27. The first lady also welcomed children and students from Joint Base Andrews for a holiday arts and crafts event. The president lit the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse November 30.