Friday 14 December 2018

Trumps take delivery of official White House Christmas tree

The fir will go up in the Blue Room, where it will be the centrepiece of Christmas at the White House.

Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Darlene Superville, Associated Press

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have accepted the official White House Christmas tree that will go on display to anchor the holiday season at the executive mansion.

The 19ft Fraser fir was cut from a farm owned by Larry Smith of Newland, North Carolina, and delivered to the front door of the White House on a green wagon hitched to a pair of horses, as strains of O Christmas Tree wafted through the cool air.

Holding hands, the Trumps spent about a minute walking around the wagon and inspecting the tree, with the president nodding in apparent approval at one point and patting the rear end of one of the horses at another point.

After greeting Mr Smith they went back inside the White House, and made no public comments.

The fir will go up in the Blue Room, where every year it becomes the centrepiece of Christmas at the White House.

A massive chandelier hanging in the oval-shaped room is removed to accommodate the tree, which is trimmed slightly and anchored to the ceiling for stability.

The tree’s arrival ushers in a month of holiday festivities at the White House and its environs.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump plans to participate in another seasonal rite: pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey. A pair of birds named Peas and Carrots are the candidates for this year’s act of presidential mercy.

The president is also expected to help light the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse later this month.

After the pardons, the first family will head to Florida to keep their tradition of spending Thanksgiving at Mr Trump’s estate in Palm Beach.

While the family is away from the White House, an army of volunteer decorators, florists and others from across the country will work throughout the holiday weekend to transform the 132-room mansion for Christmas.

White House kitchens will go into overdrive preparing the food and desserts that will be gobbled up at dozens of parties and receptions the Trumps will host in December before they head back to Florida to celebrate Christmas and ring in the new year.

Mrs Trump is expected to unveil the holiday decor after the family returns from Thanksgiving in Florida.

Press Association

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