- The Washington Times - Monday, November 26, 2018

Marking her second Christmas in the White House, first lady Melania Trump has emphasized the “spirit of patriotism” in stunning decorations which showcase American treasures in traditional style.

“Our theme honors the heart and spirit of the American people,” said Mrs. Trump, who masterminded the design of the holiday setting.

The East Wing in particular features the Gold Star Family tree, decorated by military families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.

“This tree honors all our troops and families who have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms,” said a White House advisory released Monday. “Gold stars and patriotic ribbon decorate the tree and visitors are encouraged to write messages to their loved ones who are on duty or abroad on the digital tablets provided.

“For the 51st year, the White House Creche will also be on display,” the advisory noted. “In the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall — patriotism, the heart of America — takes center stage with more than 14,000 red ornaments hanging from 29 trees. The choice of red is an extension of the pales, or stripes, found in the presidential seal designed by our Founding Fathers. It’s a symbol of valor and bravery.”

The official White House Christmas tree soars 18 feet tall, carefully arrayed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold, designating each state and territory.

Decorations in the State Dining Room celebrate America’s national symbols, including the bald eagle, the rose and the oak tree. This year’s gingerbread house is epic, constructed to show the entire National Mall, from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House.

Other highlights include over 40 topiary trees along the East Colonnade, plus three formal tables set with items from the remarkable White House china collection, highlighting state dinners from the Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Trump administrations.

“On behalf of my family, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,” Mrs. Trump said.

The White House will host over 100 open houses and 30,000 visitors in December.

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