Washington: US First Lady Melania Trump has inaugurated the decoration of the White House for the first Christmas since she and her husband, President Donald Trump, moved into the presidential residence last January.
"The president, (our son) Barron, and I are very excited for our first Christmas in the White House," the first lady said in a statement on Monday. "As with many families across the country, holiday traditions are very important to us. I hope when visiting the People's House this year, visitors will get a sense of being home for the holidays," she added.
The former Slovenian model toured each of the decorated rooms and wished the public a Merry Christmas in the name of her husband and family, including Barron, who had received with her the official White House Christmas tree that now stands in the Blue Room of the presidential residence.
With this year's theme being "Time-honored Traditions," the State Floor, Grand Foyer and Cross Hall decorations celebrate the first White House Christmas with a specific theme, that of "The Nutcracker Suite" from President John F. Kennedy's 1961 Christmas. The Red Room tree is festooned with cookie ornaments and surrounded by peppermint candies, and in keeping with former first lady Nancy Reagan's favorite holiday decoration, two cranberry trees are mounted on tables there.
The White House Green Room contains crafts, paper and classic design, and the mansion's Library features President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1866 edition of "A Christmas Carol."
Tribute is paid to so-called "Gold Star families" who have lost a loved one serving with the military in combat, and the first Christmas card send by a US president - signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 - is displayed along with that of Trump and earlier cards from the Obamas, among others. On Thursday, President Trump will preside at the traditional lighting of the huge Christmas tree to be installed on the National Mall in Washington.