News & Politics

Melania Trump’s Christmas Decorations, Ranked

First Lady Melania Trump unveiled her final set of White House Christmas decorations Monday with a video that shows her walking amid them, in that peculiar “this is absolutely how humans look at things” way of hers.

The decorations are mainly notable for how not-bizarre they are, though there’s some comedy in the ludicrously small toy-train track (Infrastructure Week at last!) and another year with a “Be Best” ornament (did anyone ever figure out what that initiative was about?).

Melania Trump has previously stated that she’s worked her “ass off on the Christmas stuff that, you know, who gives a fuck about Christmas stuff and decorations?” We do, ma’am. We do. Herewith, a ranking of her four unforgettable years of holiday weirdness.

4. 2017

Theme: “Time-Honored Traditions”

Photograph by Dan Swartz.

While they included promising touches like a tower of books and the transformation of the East Colonnade into a thicket you may get trapped in during a weird dream, 2017’s decorations took a turn toward toward the bland with fake snow-topped trees in the Grand Foyer and never quite recovered.

3. 2020

Theme: “America the Beautiful”

While we await Dan Swartz’s full photographic exploration of this year’s decorations, early photos suggest that Melania Trump’s busy fall, which included a losing presidential campaign and a bout with Covid after her husband hosted a superspreader event at the White House, meant that she didn’t quite have her heart in it this year. Still, the vases in the East Colonnade are beautiful.

2. 2019

Theme: “The Spirit of America”

Photograph by Dan Swartz.

Now this is more like it. Dangling, vaguely threatening stars. An eerie tribute to Laura Bush. A literal house of cards—maybe another of Melania Trump’s rumored sly messages? If only there were a year that amped up the Brothers Grimm feel of White House Christmas during the last four years? Oh yes! It’s…

1. 2018

Theme: “American Treasures”

Photograph by Dan Swartz.

Better known as the blood-red-trees year, and for good reason: These harbingers of doom, along with Melania Trump’s “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket, will likely be the images most people reach for when they recall her time in the White House. Who cares about the cityscape ornaments and skylines in other rooms to be enjoyed by an administration that campaigned against cities? Will anyone remember the trippy ceiling projections outside the Blue Room? No, all we will remember is these beautiful, angry trees.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.