by Bridget Read– Vogue
It’s that time of year again: Melania Trump has unveiled the 2018 White House Christmas decorations (they are very pointedly described as Christmas decorations, not “holiday”), and the Internet’s reactions to the First Lady’s interior design choices were as mixed as ever. Trump once again revealed the decor courtesy of a highly stylized video montage, in which she wanders around her home surveying, well, a ton of holiday stuff; and once again, it seems that FLOTUS has chosen a theme more inspired by hell than a holly, jolly Christmas. In case you don’t have 56 seconds to watch yourself, here are the highlights:
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Last year, Get Out; this year, The Handmaid’s Tale.
The holiday decorations of 2017 had distinctly desolate, post-apocalyptic ice chamber vibes, which caused many onlookers to wonder whether the decor was in fact a manifestation of the First Lady’s own Get Out–style entrapment in Donald Trump’s administration. These days, post–“I Don’t Really Care, Do U?” jacket debacle, we know that Melania Trump is very much the mistress of her own destiny (especially her wardrobe). This year’s decorations have taken a different dystopian tack: Walking through a strange assemblage of bloodred trees, Trump looks to be channeling The Handmaid’s Tale. All they’re missing are the bonnets worn by the handmaidens in Margaret Atwood’s patriarchy-cum-totalitarian Gilead.
The First Lady gazes at stuff.
As in last year’s video, there is a lot of footage of Trump walking around and gazing at “her own” handiwork (and shots of her pointing at plans for the decorations to prove that, yes, it really is her own handiwork). She touches ornaments so lightly one wonders, is she adjusting them? Or simply stroking the Christmas air? And she’s wearing a coat and gloves despite being indoors inside the place she ostensibly lives—perhaps to dissuade any notion that Washington, D.C., or the planet, has warmed to alarming temperatures.
There is a lot of Be Best merch.
The video’s climax is a showcase of a good deal of Be Best merchandise, promoting Trump’s curious anti-bullying campaign. The true pièce de résistance (except, of course, the opposite of resistance) is a wreath made entirely out of Be Best pencils, the sharpened points of which create a kind of Iron Throne–style sense of foreboding, though softened slightly by a random shot of a soccer ball ornament.
The red theme apparently symbolizes “patriotism.”
The choice of red as the dominant decorative color was apparently inspired by the red in the presidential seal, a “symbol of valor and bravery.” (Meanwhile, neither Melania Trump nor Ivanka Trump, whose Thanksgiving cornucopia also made a splash last year on the decorations front, have commented on the situation at the United States–Mexico border this weekend, in which migrant families, including children, were tear-gassed. Donald Trump, in a curious interpretation of the meaning of Christmas, tweeted that many of the asylum seekers were “stone cold criminals.” Be Best, indeed.)