KEY POINTS

  • Jill Biden unveiled this year's White House Christmas decorations on Monday
  • Biden's take on holiday decorations incorporate flowers and butterflies into the design
  • The First Lady also invited a band to play holiday music at the White House hallway

First Lady Jill Biden on Monday unveiled the 2021 White House Christmas decorations, prompting many to compare her take on the holiday traditions to that of former first lady Melania Trump.

During the Trump administration, the White House was decorated in a darker theme during the holidays — the hallway was filled with red trees and white branches. This year, First Lady Biden unveiled decorations that stepped away from Trumps’ style, incorporating flowers, butterflies and lighter shades into the design. 

White House Christmas Tree

In December 2020, the Trumps’ last Christmas in the White House, Melania decorated the Blue Room with a towering Christmas tree featuring ornaments designed by students under the #BeBest campaign and adorned with yellow ribbons. 

This year, the Blue Room features a tree lit up by strings of white Christmas lights and adorned by cut-outs of white doves and silver ornaments. The tree is also barricaded by gold stanchions. The fireplace was also decorated with a garland of doves and white lights. 

Gingerbread House

Last year, Melania’s gingerbread house — displayed in the State Dining Room — appeared to be a direct replica of the White House and featured the West Wing, Executive Residence, East Wing, the Rose Garden and the First Ladies’ Garden. 

Melania’s fireplace also followed the same theme as their Christmas tree and was adorned in a garland of yellow ribbons and flowers. 

Dr. Biden’s gingerbread house, which is also situated in the State Dining Room, features numerous buildings alongside the White House. The decoration includes a hospital, gas station, school, post office and grocery store which seem to be a nod to frontline workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A ginger bread White House A ginger bread White House is seen in the State Dining room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

The First Lady’s fireplace featured a garland lit by bright white lights and adored by red ornaments, six stockings and red ribbons. The fireplace was also framed by two Christmas trees featuring Biden family pictures as ornaments.

White House Hallways

Last year, Melania filled the Cross Hall and Grand Foyer with nearly a dozen Christmas trees featuring red ornaments with red- and black-colored Christmas gifts underneath. The hallway also featured two plant pots holding a bouquet of red roses.

As for Biden, she decorated the hallways with a stack of gigantic red Christmas boxes by the wall and a row of smaller trees adorned only by Christmas lights. In the same hallway, the Biden family invited a band to play music. The arches along the hallway were also covered with festive green garlands. At the side of the hallway stood two small Christmas trees covered in “snow.”

First Ladies decorating the White House during the Christmas season first became a tradition in 1889 when the Harrison administration first put up a Christmas tree in the Second Floor Oval room for the president's grandchildren, according to White House History. The unveiling of the White House Christmas decorations has since become one of the most highly-anticipated events that Americans look forward to every year. 

Melania Trump, seen here on January 20, 2021 which was the last day of her husband's presidency, cut a fashionable but distant figure Melania Trump, seen here on January 20, 2021 which was the last day of her husband's presidency, cut a fashionable but distant figure Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN