What are the holidays if not a time to compare the traditions of those who came before us? That's especially true when it comes to presidential administrations. For example,
comparing Melania Trump's Christmas decorations to Michelle Obama's reveals slightly different styles, but a similar taste for opulence. While Michelle had eight years' worth of choices, Melania has coordinated the decorations of the White House for two years. But Melania's husband has filed for re-election, so she could get eight chances, too.
The tradition of a White House Christmas tree started with President Benjamin Harris in 1889, according to
The Washington Post, but previous presidents likely had trees before that. However, the tradition of the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room didn't take hold until 1912 when President William Taft's children set up a tree as a surprise for younger kids, according to the newspaper.
This year's Christmas tree — a 19-and-a-half-foot-tall Fraser fir — is from Newland, North Carolina, according to ABC News. The tree hadn't been trimmed in a few years, and selection
officials loved the tree's "natural look," Mountain Top Fraser fir farm owner Larry Smith told The Charlotte Observer in November.
Michelle's First Christmas In The White House
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
These two trees are a part of Michelle's first year of Christmas decorations under the theme "Reflect, Rejoice, Renew" in 2009.
Ninety-two volunteers hailing from 24 states helped transform the White House's decorations after more than 3,400 hours, according to the Obama White House archive.
The White House said there were 27 trees, 61 wreaths, and roughly 2,700 yards of ribbon decorating the people's house. The official White House Christmas tree was a 18-and-a-half feet high and about 13 feet wide.
Melania's First White House Christmas
During Melania's first Christmas in 2017, more than
150 volunteers from 29 states helped decorate the White House over more than 1,600 hours, according to a press release. There were 53 Christmas tress, over 12,000 ornaments, 71 wreaths, and more than 18,000 feet of lights. Each room — such as the Red Room — had individual themes with slightly different decorations. The official Christmas tree was in the Blue Room.
Michelle's Last Christmas
For Michelle's last Christmas in the White House, she chose the theme "The Gift of the Holidays" with gifts and presents frequently used as decoration around the people's house. There were
larger-than-life replicas of Sunny and Bo Obama (their dogs) made out of 25,000 pom poms and 56 gingerbread houses actually constructed out of Legos to represent the 50 states and territories, according to Harper's Bazaar. Michelle greeted her last White House Christmas tree with her two nephews in late November, according to USA Today. The tree was a 19-foot Balsam-Veitch fir cross, the newspaper reported.
Toronto Star compared the first year of both Melania and Michelle in this side-by-side video showing the similarities and differences between the two women's Christmas decorating choices.