/White House Shocks with Weirdly Non-Terrifying Christmas Theme

White House Shocks with Weirdly Non-Terrifying Christmas Theme

Eric Reads The News is a daily humor column which skewers politics, pop culture, celebrity, shade, and schadenfreude.


Huh. The Trump White House unveiled its final holiday decor theme and it’s… disconcertingly normal. There are twinkling lights and all the trees are tree-colored and the hallways are not filling up with blood and, I gotta say, I’m nervous. I’m looking at these tasteful photos that do not in any way call to mind the apocalypse and I keep muttering “Okay… what’s the gag?” After three years of tree-trimming trolling, the Trumps have managed to (be) best themselves with the ultimate trick: competence!

white house holds press preview for its christmas décor

Drew AngererGetty Images

After an opening gambit in 2017 of a Christmas that put the white in “why isn’t there a White History Month?” and following it up in 2018 with a walking tour of The Shining, it was all but assured that they’d bring their time in D.C. to a close with a truly spectacular Grand Guignol masterpiece. But… this is fine, too.

Working off of the theme “America the Beautiful (even Detroit and Philadelphia and Georgia)”, the color palette of the decorations is largely white and red, with ornaments highlighting American things like The Constitution (most of it!), individual states (the gerrymandered parts!), and the most American concept of all: “Be Best Question Mark.” The decorations also feature a model of a hospital, in honor of the the medical professionals actually battling the pandemic, something the administration has shown no interest in whatsoever. Frankly, it would have been more on-brand for the White House to include a model of a hospital billing office to signify the administration’s depraved delight in withholding affordable healthcare from millions and plunging them into the greatest state in the union: debt.

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But that would be a theme for another year! If they had another year, which they do not. The final Trump White House theme is “You thought!” And it’s true, I did think. I suppose it makes sense that the Trumps didn’t put in the effort to transform the East Wing into a Hell House for their last shebang considering that first lady Melania Trump was famously recorded expressing her, uh, ambivalence about such things as Christmas decorations and other, more dire, initiatives. It’s also likely that they pulled back this year because the White House isn’t open to the public unless the public is a Republican appointee in a swing state.

Nevertheless, this feels like a missed opportunity. I don’t want to look a gift horcrux in the mouth but I have to say I had higher hopes for this year’s decorations. I mean, doing the White House up in Grinch decor and making the theme “Stop the Steal” is right there. They could label all the presents that the Grinch takes from Whoville “legitimate votes” and make Ivanka dress up as Cindy Lou Who and really lean into the WTF-er of it all. I’m sure it’s no fun trying to be festive after losing the election every day since about November 6th, but where is the pride in craftsmanship, where is the commitment to a bit, where is the clumsy menace that accompanies every single other thing that they do? I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed.

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These are the people who launched this national nightmare on a bleak 2017 Inauguration Day with a villain speech from a Tarantino film and descended from there. They’ve got a lot to live up to and, like Mary Berry biting into a dry sponge cake, I’m feel they’ve missed the mark and will be asked to leave the tent.

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What did I expect? Well, I’m glad you asked!

I expected to pull up the video and discover White House Christmas 2020: “The dinner scene from Hereditary.” Toni Collette screaming in the Blue Room. Trees engulfed in flames. Festive stuff!

I thought we were all going to get photos of White House Christmas 2020: “Here’s why Raffensberger sucks”. No actual holiday decor, just weirdly fangless critiques of Georgia’s Secretary of State in every room. Every ornament has a printout of a Trump tweet on it. Joyous!

I was anticipating White House Christmas 2020: “That empty book of health care plans that Kayleigh McEnany gave to Leslie Stahl.” Melania Trump dressed as Mrs. Claus, opening the book for Christmas story time, and then just staring at the room full of kids in chilling silence for about 45 minutes. Holly jolly!

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I was bracing myself for White House Christmas 2020: “Seasons Greetings Total Landscaping!” The color palette is “Rudy Giuliani hair dye #9” and the theme is “we’re bad at this and yet we refuse to get better!” Merry whatever!

I was fully prepared for White House Christmas 2020: “The speech in the car at the end of The Undoing.” Trump lands Marine One on an incredibly tiny bridge. The White House puts every record from the last four years into the dishwasher. Moral depravity for the holidays!

And, to be honest, I thought that the White House would stick to the policy of ignoring reality that they’ve been practicing for almost four years and really perfected in the last month with the theme White House Christmas 2020: “It’s not Christmas, the calendars are lying to you, and the courts are the only ones who can decide when Jesus was born.” Ah well, I would say they can try again next year but according to a breaking news report I just received Joe Biden has won the election. Again. Happy holidays, or else!

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