Christmas at the White House Draws Attention to Patriotism

    03 December, 2019

    The First Lady of the United States Melania Trump is celebrating American patriotism at the White House this Christmas. She has also honored American design, inventions and buildings.

    The traditional gingerbread White House sits beside the Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge.

    "It is with great joy that our family welcomes you to the White House this holiday season as we celebrate the Spirit of America," President Donald Trump and his family say in a signed book that visitors will receive: "We hope you enjoy our tribute to the traditions, customs and history that make our nation great."

    The Cross Hall leading into the State Dinning Room is decorated during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington.
    The Cross Hall leading into the State Dinning Room is decorated during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington.

    White House officials showed the decorations to reporters on Monday before the president and the first lady traveled to London. Reporters also were permitted into the Naval Observatory: the official home of the U.S. Vice President in Northwest Washington D.C.

    Part of the White House is lined with glass panels etched with more than 60 examples of American design, innovation and architecture. They include structures like the Woolworth Building in New York City and the Space Needle in Seattle.

    A Christmas tree honors Gold Star families that lost a relative during military service. It stands at the beginning of the hallway while a second tree is decorated with the Trump family ornament: an American flag.

    East Room decorations are inspired by the U.S. flag and have red and blue ribbons and golden eagles on top of the Christmas trees. In the State Dining Room, American design is highlighted.

    The gingerbread White House, covered with 11 kilograms of icing and 16 kilograms of chocolate, reproduces the South Portico, including a staircase made using spaghetti.

    The Blue Room holds a tree five meters tall brought from a farm in the state of Pennsylvania. It is decorated with flowers representing every state and U.S. territory.

    Mrs. Trump continues her tradition of hanging wreaths on all 106 windows at the White House.

    Late Sunday, she showed Twitter followers a short video of some of the decorations as she walked through the State Floor of the White House.

    More than 225 volunteers came from around the country to help decorate the White House during Thanksgiving weekend. Decorations in the public areas include 58 Christmas trees and more than 2,500 groups of light.

    The Naval Observatory is home to Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. More than 40 volunteers decorated the Pence's residence using 640 meters of white lights, and seven trees from a farm in Belvidere, New Jersey.

    Mrs. Pence said the decorations show "...the rich history of the residence and highlights the beauty of the special (house) that we are blessed to call home."

    I'm Jonathan Evans.

    The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

    Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


    Words in This Story

    innovation – n. the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods

    gingerbread – n. a cake or cookie made with molasses and ginger

    tribute – n. honor or respect

    etch – v. to produce a pattern, design, etc., by using a powerful liquid (called an acid) to cut the surface of metal or glass

    ornament – n. a pretty ball hung on a Christmas tree

    wreath – n. an arrangement of leaves or flowers in the shape of a circle