Jill Biden’s ‘inner child’ White House Christmas decor triggers flashbacks to Melania’s dystopian theme

Source: Twitter/FLOTUS

Inspired by “child-like marvel and awe”, first lady Jill Biden’s warm glow White House Christmas makeover has triggered flashbacks to Melania Trump’s infamous dystopian themes.

In the days after Thanksgiving, hundreds of volunteers – including Biden’s twin sisters Kim and Kelly – decorated the rooms, foyers, corridors and wings with an “inner child” theme of “Magic, Wonder and Joy”.

She told her team that she wanted visitors to experience the décor through the eyes of a child.

“In this season of reflection and goodwill, we hope you will embrace your inner child and delight in simply being present with those you love,” the English professor revealed.

“It is a time for our senses to awaken – for each of us to smell the aroma of favourite family recipes, to hear the warmth of a dear friend’s voice, to see the glow of lights and decorations, to taste the sweetness of candies and treats, and to feel the quiet stillness and strength of faith.”

Thousands of families and children will get a chance to embrace Biden’s story over the holidays, bringing a wholesome spirit of Christmas to the White House.

“Well, we’re back to someone who actually has taste decorating the White House once again. No more gloom and doom from Melania,” wrote one observer on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Buzzfeed noted the two styles “couldn’t be more different”.

“Like it’s actually funny.”

Melania Trump inspects the Christmas decorations in 2018. Photo: AAP

Melania’s era

Melania divided public opinion the world over as to how she interpreted Christmas in the White House during her four-year tenure from 2017 to 2020.

Labelled the grinch on social media, she was criticised for not being at one with nature, and for using Christmas to express her dislike of her husband’s controversial Mexico border policies.

She was even recorded bashing Christmas.

She put up a corridor of witchy white skeletal trees with twigs in 2017 –  dubbed “the most terrifying domestic space in America” – followed by being filmed walking along the East Wing hallway inspecting 40 undecorated blood red trees the next year.

Memes flooded the internet, with references to the long-suffering women in The Handmaid’s Tale, with trees that looked like car-wash brushes and symbols of blood waves from Stephen King’s The Shining.

Her “Be Best” pencil wreaths and soccer ball baubles topped off what some believed was her “stupendous gift for Evil Christmas aesthetics … the one good thing Trump brought to the White House”.

In the summer of 2018, Melania was secretly recorded expressing her frustration at being criticised for her husband’s policy of separating families who illegally crossed the southern border.

At the same time, she spoke about needing to perform traditional first lady duties, such as preparing for Christmas, CNN reported exclusively on October 1 that year.

“They say I’m complicit. I’m the same like him. I support him. I don’t say enough. I don’t do enough where I am,” she said in a tape secretly recorded by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and senior adviser.

“I’m working … my a— off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f— about the Christmas stuff and decorations?”

Biden’s decor not totally embraced

According to official statistics, about 4564 metres of ribbon, 350 candles, 33,892 ornaments, and more than 22,100 bells were used this year to decorate the White House.

There are 98 Christmas trees, a giant Gingerbread White House creation, and more than 142,425 holiday lights decorate the trees, garlands, wreaths and displays.

Seventy two wreaths adorn the north and south facades.

Rooms are filled with handwritten letters to Santa, the Vermeil Room has rotating figurines playing trumpets, there’s a Santa’s workshop, ornaments, story books including samples of editions of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and giant candy stills suspended from the ceilings.

“When comparing the Christmas decorations by Melania Trump and Jill Biden, there’s a notable difference in the tone and symbolism, which might reflect their personalities or experiences,” Pav Wasik, from UK firm Uptown Interiors told Bored Panda.

Melania’s 2020 “America the Beautiful” theme “had a more solemn, traditional and perhaps darker tone”.

“This might be seen as a reflection of her more reserved public persona or a response to the unique challenges faced during that year, including the pandemic and political tensions.

“Her choices in previous years, like the line of icy, Balsam fir trees in 2017 or the blood-red trees in 2018, have also sparked discussions about her favouring a more dramatic, unconventional aesthetic, which some interpreted as ‘witchy’.”

Melania’s China Room, for example, was decorated in red with the timber dining table set for 10 adults. Biden’s is a lolly shop.

Melania added ice queen-style ornaments. Biden has delivered more colourful greens, reds, gold and silver on her trees.

Jill had a large sleigh at the entrance, a welcoming giant Nutcracker and a mechanical theatre in one of the bedrooms.

“It’s definitely less ‘human sacrifice’ and more ‘holiday joy’,” wrote Buzzfeed.

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