The official White House Christmas tree stands in the Blue Room at the White House during a press preview of the 2017 holiday decorations. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) - First lady Melania Trump has opted for a more traditional decor for her family's first Christmas in the White House, adding a few new touches to the standards.
New this year are wreaths hanging from the exterior of every window. Another new touch are glistening wintry branches lining an East Wing hallway that leads guests to a tree decorated with the Trump family's official Christmas ornament, a gold-toned bauble featuring the presidential coat of arms surrounded by a wreath of holly.
The family Christmas card is framed and on display. "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year," says the card signed by President Donald Trump, the first lady and Barron, their 11-year-old son.
Among the Christmas standards is an 18-foot fir tree in its traditional spot in the Blue Room, decorated with ornaments bearing the seals of every state and U.S. territory.
The 350-pound gingerbread house this year offers a view of the White House from the south.
"The decorations are up!" the first lady tweeted Monday morning. "@WhiteHouse is ready to celebrate! Wishing you a Merry Christmas & joyous holiday season!"
Her theme is "Time-Honored Traditions," which the White House said pays respect to 200 years of holiday traditions at the executive mansion.
The first lady's office previewed the decorations for journalists on Monday after more than 150 volunteers from 29 states spent 1,600 hours during the long holiday weekend decking the White House halls. Mrs. Trump has also invited children and students from a nearby military base to come see the decorations and work on holiday arts and crafts.
The White House said she personally chose every detail of the decor. She did a final check late Sunday after returning from the family's Thanksgiving at their home in Palm Beach, Florida.
The holiday celebrating begins later Monday with a party for the volunteer decorators and will continue well into December with receptions and parties - sometimes two a day - for the next several weeks. More than 25,000 visitors are expected to tour the White House for the holidays and the kitchen is ready: a total of 31,000 cookies have been baked, including 15,000 sugar cookies.
Mrs. Trump's signature Christmas includes 71 wreaths, 53 Christmas trees, more than 18,000 lights, more than 12,000 ornaments, more than 3,100 yards of ribbon and more than 1,000 feet of garland, the White House said.