Holiday magic illuminates the White House

At the White House, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. That’s because first lady Melania Trump has designed a colorfully patriotic theme — dubbed “American treasures” — for the holiday decorations now on display, showcasing America’s heritage.

During December, the White House will host more than 100 open houses, many receptions, and more than 30,000 visitors on public tours.

In the East Wing, guests will see the Gold Star Family tree, decorated by Gold Star military families to honor the sacrifices of U.S. troops. Visitors are invited to write messages to their loved ones stationed abroad, using digital tablets.

Christmas tree decorated with blue ribbons and gold and red ornaments (© Leah Mills/Reuters)
The Gold Star Family tree glows against a colonnade backdrop at the White House. (© Leah Mills/Reuters)

The East Room pays tribute to the diversity and ingenuity of American architecture and design, with four custom mantelpieces depicting the skylines of New York City, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco.

Christmas ornament with cut-out images of the Southwest and the Intermountain West (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
An ornament with images of the Southwest and the Intermountain West hangs on a tree in the East Room. (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

Vivid red topiary trees line the East Colonnade, their color symbolizing valor and patriotism.

Red Christmas trees lining colonnade in the White House (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
The vivid red color of the trees lining the East Colonnade echoes the red stripes in the American flag. (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a White House Christmas without the annual gingerbread house. The 2018 version replicates the full expanse of the National Mall: the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and the White House itself.

White models of buildings sitting on table (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
The holiday gingerbread house, created from spun sugar and other ingredients, is exhibited in the State Dining Room. (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

The official White House Christmas tree, nestled in the Blue Room, is dressed in blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with the names of each U.S. state and territory.

Christmas tree standing in room with blue curtains (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)
The official White House Christmas tree stands nearly 6 meters tall in the Blue Room. (© Carolyn Kaster/AP Images)

“This is a joyous time of year when we decorate the White House for the Christmas season,” said the first lady. “Our theme honors the heart and spirit of the American people. On behalf of my family, we wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.”