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During December, the White House will open its doors for more than 100 open house events. They were described as scary and referred to as the "hallway of Yuletide murders", "the avenue of blood red trees" and ominous.

First lady Melania Trump tweeted a video showing her walking among this year's holiday decorations, which also include an ornament emblazoned with the slogan for her child well-being campaign, Be Best.

The 2018 theme is America's Treasures and a one-minute long trailer shows the first lady strolling through the presidential residence, taking in the festive decor and gently placing a bauble on a glowing tree. "It is a symbol of valor and bravery", said the first lady's office, which is customarily responsible for the decor, in a statement. All the White House needs is a black and white chevron floor pattern and a low buzz of ominous background noise that underlines the profound isolation of being trapped in an alternate dimension with only a talking tree and the occasional visit from a dead prom queen to help make sense of being stranded outside of space and time while your doppelgänger is wreaking havoc on Earth. But Melania Trump chose to sit this one out.

A detail of the official White House Christmas tree is seen in the Blue Room
A detail of the official White House Christmas tree

Decorations include a tree trimmed by Gold Star families - those killed in military service - as well as an array of topiary trees and mantelpieces featuring the skylines of New York City, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco.

At the 1991 preview, Helen Thomas, longtime White House correspondent for United Press International, asked Barbara Bush how she thought the economic "depression" (a word never uttered at the White House) would affect Christmas 1991.

But the effect - essentially the flipside of last year's motif, in which the trees were solid white and also derided as horror movie worthy - didn't draw too many warm feelings on social media. And they expect 30,000 visitors to walk through the halls on holiday tours. The traditional White House gingerbread house was made from 525 pounds of gingerbread dough and depicted the entire Washington Mall. At the end of the media tour, reporters were handed small custom green-and-red boxes of Hershey's Kisses, the official token of Christmas at the White House 2018.