Melania Trump has moved up the date of a time-honored White House tradition so that she and her family can spend Thanksgiving weekend in Florida. According to recent reports, the first lady will accept the White House Christmas tree a few days before Thanksgiving instead of the day after the holiday.
As reported by ABC News, first ladies usually accept the White House Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, Melania Trump and her husband aren't spending their first Thanksgiving as first couple at the White House. Instead, they plan on celebrating the holiday at their property in Palm Beach, Florida. This is why the 2017 White House Christmas tree will be heading to Washington, D.C. on Monday.
This year's tree is a 19 1/2-foot Balsam fir that will be presented to the first lady by Jim and Diane Chapman, the owners of Silent Night Evergreens in Endeavor, Wisconsin. The Chapmans won the 2017 National Christmas Tree Association contest, but the tree that will be on display at the White House didn't come from their farm. According to WLUK FOX 11, the Chapmans didn't have a tree that was tall enough to meet the required height specifications, so they had to procure one from a different farm in Wisconsin. The Balsam fir that Melania Trump will accept on Monday actually comes from Hanauer's Tree Farms.
"The size and the shape, the color, great trunk. It's going to fill the room. It's going to look awesome in the Blue Room and it's good all the way around," said White House Grounds Superintendent Dale Haney. "The whole thing is a front and I can just see it make the holiday season for the White House."According to the White House Historical Association, first ladies have chosen decoration themes for the White House Christmas trees since 1961. Jacqueline Kennedy started the tradition when she had her first White House Christmas tree adorned with ornaments inspired by the Nutcracker ballet.
The first theme former First Lady Michelle Obama chose was "Reflect, Rejoice, Renew." She decided to recycle 800 old ornaments from previous administrations, and she asked dozens of community groups from around the country to redecorate them. Most of the ornaments paid tribute to national landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. In 2010, Michelle Obama added an additional "Military Appreciation Tree" to the White House. Many of her subsequent decoration themes paid tribute to the troops, and the Obamas' trees were often decked out with ornaments crafted by service members and their families.
Melania Trump will have a few more days to think about her Christmas tree decorating theme before she and her family head to Florida for the long weekend. According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump will kick off his Thanksgiving festivities on Tuesday when he pardons a turkey in the Rose Garden.
Last year, Donald and Melania Trump ate Thanksgiving dinner at the president's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, where the guest list included famous friends of theirs like Don King and Fabio. NBC News reported that the menu featured 24 dishes, and security for the event was estimated to cost taxpayers $7 million. According to Vanity Fair, the Obamas spent their final Thanksgiving as first family serving dinner to veterans at a homeless center while the Trumps and their guests dined on Ahi Tuna Martinis and Three-Layer Trump Chocolate Cake.
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