The White House officially began the 2017 holiday season Monday morning as first lady Melania Trump unveiled Christmas, Hanukkah and other seasonal decorations throughout the house.
Trump chose to honor the White House's 200-year-old tradition of celebrating the winter holidays, and this year's theme is called "Time-Honored Traditions." White House Christmas parties date back to 1800 when President John Adams and his wife, Abigail Adams, hosted the first soiree.
The first lady personally selected every detail in this year's displays. More than 150 volunteers from 29 states spent the past week for a total of 1,600 hours decking the halls and placed 1,000 feet of garland around each room's fireplace, mantles, and doorways.
About 70 of Trump's signature Christmas wreaths and 53 Christmas trees were on display throughout the state floor and lower level of the building. Around 18,000 feet of Christmas lights and 12,000 ornaments were placed, including gold ornaments with each of the 50 states' names engraved on them.
More than 25,000 visitors will pass through the White House on public tours during the next month and the building will be home to 100 open houses and receptions through the end of December.
Trump welcomed children from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for arts and crafts in the State Dining Room.
"The president, Barron, and I are very excited for our first Christmas in the White House," Melania Trump said. "As with many families across the country, holiday traditions are very important to us. I hope when visiting the People’s House this year, visitors will get a sense of being home for the holidays. On behalf of my husband and Barron, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season."
In the East Wing, guests will find a tribute to service members and their families on the Gold Star Family Tree. Visitors are encouraged to jot down messages on tablets to loved ones who are deployed.
The Grand Foyer and Cross Hall were transformed into a winter wonderland with dozens of full-size trees and fake snow placed throughout the open space. The theme for the hall was selected in honor of the 1961 "Nutcracker Suite," the first year a theme was chosen.
The Green Room is dedicated to crafts, paper and classic design, while the Blue Room hosts the 18.5-foot-tall White House Christmas tree that Trump welcomed last week.
The Red Room is decorated with red candies and cookies, whetting visitors' appetites as they entered the State Dining Room to see the nearly four-foot-long White House gingerbread house.
Downstairs, Christmas cards from every president are on display. The letter tradition dates back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.