For 2019, she opted for a patriotic, predominantly bright-and-white holiday theme — unveiling her choices this week in a moment of ceremony for the Trump administration amid the brewing impeachment conflict between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress.
The first lady, 49, tweeted a video on Sunday showing her touring the seasonal decorations, including ornate gold-and-white trees, a garden’s worth of white flowers and a mini replica of the White House itself, adorned with tiny wreaths.
The decorations will be on public display throughout December.
The White House described the choices by Mrs. Trump as celebrating “the courageous individuals who have shaped our country and kept the American spirit alive.”
“‘The Spirit of America’ is shining in the @WhiteHouse,” she tweeted. “I am delighted to share this beautiful exhibit of patriotism for all to see, and excited for everyone to experience the beauty of the #Christmas season!”
But few things go on in the Trump White House without inspiring some kind of strong reaction.
Last year’s holiday decor drew online criticism by people who compared the unusual choice of all-red Christmas trees to the flood of blood in the 1980 horror film The Shining. Under the theme “American Treasures,” the 2018 decor included the crimson evergreens lining the East colonnade, which also attracted comparisons to the costumes of The Handmaid’s Tale — and, according to Trump critics, parallels between his conservative politics and the show’s misogynistic dystopia.
During an appearance at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, shortly after the internet backlash last year, Mrs. Trump defended the design, saying “everybody has a different taste.”
“I think they look fantastic,” she said at the time. “I hope everybody will come over and visit it. In real life, they look even more beautiful. You are all welcome to visit the White House, the people’s house.”
The White House had previously explained the motif in a statement: “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 2017 Christmas decorations, including rows of icy white branches, inspired similarly strong opinions.
This year’s decor features an ornamental shout-out to the first lady’s Be Best initiative. On what appears to be a Christmas tree themed to children’s board games, a collection of Scrabble letters spell out the two words, placed among the tree branches surrounded by dominos, playing cards and dice.
Last year, Mrs. Trump honored her children’s welfare initiative, which focuses on countering opioid addiction and cyberbullying, by including Be Best bulbs on some of the trees as well as a wreath made out of Be Best pencils.
“This Christmas season I want to honor those who have shaped our country and made it the place we are proud to call home, and I am excited to announce our White House holiday theme, ‘The Spirit of America’ ” she said in a statement.
“When I travel the country, I am inspired by the hard working people and families that I meet. No matter which state they call home, many Americans share a strong set of values and deep appreciation for the traditions and history of our great nation,” she continued. “Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who worked to make sure the People’s House was ready for Christmas. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
On Monday, President Trump retweeted his wife’s video showing off the new decorations.
But his Twitter feed was largely dominated by messages praising other Republicans and arguing that he was being wrongfully investigated for impeachment by the House of Representatives after he lobbied Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. He has denied doing anything wrong.