As strains of “O Christmas Tree” wafted through the cool air, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Monday accepted the official White House Christmas tree that will go on display in the Blue Room and anchor the holiday season at the executive mansion.
The 19½-foot tall Fraser fir was cut from a farm owned by Larry Smith of Newland, North Carolina, and delivered to the front door of the White House on a green wagon hitched to a pair of horses. A sign on the wagon said “White House Christmas Tree 2018.”
Holding each other’s hand, the Trumps spent about a minute walking around the wagon and inspecting the tree, with the president nodding in approval.
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Melania shared a video of the arrival of the Christmas tree on her Twitter, saying, “hope you will come to the People’s house to see it!”
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) November 20, 2018
The fir will go up in the Blue Room, where every year it becomes the centerpiece of Christmas at the White House. A massive chandelier that hangs in the oval-shaped room is removed to accommodate the tree, which is trimmed slightly and anchored to the ceiling for stability.
The First Lady tweeted out her appreciation to the Smith Family and National Christmas Tree Association “for providing this year’s tree.”
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The @WhiteHouse is getting ready for the Christmas season! Thank you to the Smith Family & the National Christmas Tree Association for providing this year's tree. And to our @NatlParkService for their hard work in trimming the tree for the Blue Room. pic.twitter.com/jiyYBwCeXO
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) November 19, 2018
The tree’s arrival ushers in a month of holiday festivities at the White House and its environs.
The first family will head to Florida to keep their tradition of spending Thanksgiving at Trump’s estate in Palm Beach.
While the family is away, the White House with an army of volunteer decorators, florists and others from across the country will work throughout the holiday weekend to transform the 132-room mansion for Christmas.
White House kitchens will go into overdrive preparing the food and desserts that will be gobbled up at dozens of parties and receptions the Trumps will host in December before they head back to Florida to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year.
Melania is expected to unveil the holiday decor after the family returns from Thanksgiving in Florida.
Christmas planning at the White House is a monthslong process.
In July, Mrs. Trump tweeted a photo of herself and a designer in the White House Map Room as they looked over holiday concepts.
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“Planning is underway for this year’s #Christmas at the @WhiteHouse!” she wrote. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but I hope everyone will enjoy our final holiday vision for the People’s House.”
Her theme last year was “Time-Honored Traditions,” a nod to 200 years of holiday celebrations at the executive mansion.
Smith’s farm, Mountain Top Fraser Fir, provided the tree to the White House after winning the National Christmas Tree Association’s annual contest.
The White House grounds superintendent and the chief usher picked the fir during a September trip to Smith’s farm, making the Trumps’ inspection and approval of the tree a formality.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.