Melania Trump Defends ‘Fantastic’ White House Christmas Decor—How Past First Ladies Decorated For The Holidays

The holiday decor for the 'People's House' has changed quite a bit over the past 90 years.

Melania and Barron Trump at the White House
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The holiday decor for the 'People's House' has changed quite a bit over the past 90 years.

Melania Trump is firing back at those who don’t like her White House Christmas decorations. The first lady received some flack on social media for her colonnade of blood red Christmas trees in her “American Treasures” theme, as previously shared by the Inquisitr, with some critics drawing comparisons to The Shining and The Handmaid’s Tale.

But during a speaking engagement, as posted on Twitter, at Liberty University earlier this week, Trump defended her unique style and urged her critics to come and take a look at the White House decor in person.

“We are in 21st Century and everybody has a different taste. I think they look fantastic. I hope everybody will come over and visit it. In real life, they look even more beautiful. And you are all very welcome to visit the White House, the people’s house.”

Melania Trump follows a long line of first ladies who have been tasked with decorating the White House for the holidays, but she is the first to deal with such a social media firestorm over it.

While Christmas trees have traditionally been placed in the White House since the late 1800s, it wasn’t until the Hoover administration in 1929 that decorating the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room became an official responsibility of the first lady, according to Town & Country.

Ten years later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s family lit the gigantic White House Christmas tree with real candles, and by the 1960s, electric lights were old news and silver tinsel strands were all the rage on the Eisenhower family tree.

But it was in 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy decorated the tree completely with ornaments from the “Nutcracker Suite” that the tradition of decorating the White House tree with Christmas-themed ornaments was born.

President John F. Kennedy and First lady Jacqueline Kennedy with the 1962 White House Christmas tree
  Robert Knudsen/White House / Wikimedia Commons

Flash forward to 1967, when Lady Bird Johnson went for brightly-colored ornaments and a garland made of popcorn for a truly wild look that mirrored the times. In 1975, Betty Ford also decorated with popcorn strands, but she paired the lowkey look with paper chains and wooden ornaments. And in 1979, first lady Rosalynn Carter decorated the Blue Room tree with antique toys that she borrowed from the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in New York.

In 1982, first lady Nancy Reagan went with an angel ornament theme, and four years later Barbra Bush decorated the White House tree with dolls from famous children’s books. Years later, her daughter-in-law, first lady Laura Bush, paid homage to that design with a “Seasons of Stories” theme in her husband’s White House. Laura Bush’s 2002 theme for the 18-foot-tall fir tree in the Blue Room featured decorations that focused on presidential pets.

First Lady Laura Bush stands next to a decorated 18-foot tall fir tree in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington, D.C.
  Greg E. Mathieson / Getty Images

In 1994, Hilary Clinton trimmed the 18-foot East Room tree trimmed with decorations made by American artists and school children, and in 1997 she broke the record for the most Christmas trees in the White House with a whopping 36 decorated trees that year, per the Washington Post.

And in 2009, Michelle Obama’s first White House Christmas theme was the environmentally conscious “Reflect, Rejoice, and Renew.” The Blue Room tree boasted LED lights and highlighted the importance of recycling.

“We took about 800 ornaments left over from previous administrations, we sent them to 60 local community groups throughout the country, and asked them to decorate them to pay tribute to a favorite local landmark and then send them back to us for display here at the White House,” the FLOTUS said at the time, per Inside Edition. Obama also honored military families with subsequent trees.

President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a formal portrait in front of the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House.
  Lawrence Jackson/White House / Getty Images