First Lady Melania Trump on Monday welcomed a large Christmas tree to mark the start of White House holiday events that will include the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey, as well as Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations.
The first lady attended a small outdoor ceremony on the White House driveway to mark the arrival of the large Fraser fir tree, which arrived by a horse-drawn carriage.
The Christmas tree from West Virginia will be decorated and displayed in the White House Blue Room. Melania Trump has not revealed this year’s holiday theme.
Melania Trump inspected the tree and spoke to tree farm owner Dan Taylor and his family, as well as the carriage driver, and posed for photos with them.
The U.S. Marine Band was also in attendance at the ceremony and played Christmas carols.
“Since 1966, the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree has become an iconic holiday tradition,” the first lady announced on Sunday on Twitter. “This year’s tree, a lovely 18 1/2 foot Fraser Fir from Dan and Bryan Trees of West Virginia, will arrive tomorrow at the [White House] North Portico.”
Since 1966, the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree has become an iconic holiday tradition. This year’s tree, a lovely 18 1/2 foot Fraser Fir from Dan and Bryan Trees of West Virginia, will arrive tomorrow at the @WhiteHouse North Portico. #WHChristmas pic.twitter.com/f7fcz5LxtQ
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) November 22, 2020
The National Christmas Tree Association (NTCA) said that there was no selection event for the White House Christmas tree this year. Normally, the selection would be a media event at the NCTA Champion Grower’s farm that would attract upward of 100 people.
Holiday events will continue at the White House on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump is expected to participate in the annual pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.
The turkeys arrived on Sunday at the luxury Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington. Their names are Corn and Cob.
The first family is expected to gather at the White House for Thanksgiving.
“It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic décor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations,” said Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, in a statement.
Grisham added that the White House will adopt measures to ensure “the safest environment possible” for attendees. This will include smaller guest lists, as well as masks and social distancing requirements. There will be hand sanitizer stations.
“Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines,” she added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance (pdf) on celebrating Thanksgiving that recommends determining the size of a gathering “based on the ability of attendees from different households” to socially distance and stick to safety hygiene measures.
The agency has also urged people, in a guidance (pdf), to celebrate the holiday virtually.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.