Fashion Notes: It’s Jill Biden’s Christmas, But Where Have All the Aesthetic Critics Gone?

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Alex Wong/Getty Images/Andrea Hanks

For four years, an annual chorus of unfounded criticism and aesthetic analysis beat like a drum over former First Lady Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations at the White House.

Now, it’s First Lady Jill Biden’s turn but where have all the critics gone?

Don’t worry, I’m still here and I should start by reminding loyal Fashion Notes readers that it was the haters who stereotyped Melania Trump as a stone-cold, joyless Eastern European who secretly hated the frills of Christmas. They did so by seizing on her winter white decor in the East Wing in 2017.

The haters did it again a year later when Mrs. Trump unveiled beautiful red trees throughout the East Collonade of the White House.

It should be noted that Mrs. Trump’s Christmas decorations from 2017 to 2020 were a triumph for beauty after nearly two decades of the traditional and modernist designs from former First Ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

Christmas decorations are seen in the East Wing during a preview of holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House Christmas Tree is seen in the Blue Room during a preview of holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas trees are seen during a preview of holiday decorations in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are seen in the Red Room during a preview of holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are seen in the State Dining Room during a preview of holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are seen in the East Wing during a preview of holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas trees are seen during a preview of holiday decorations in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(@FLOTUS)

Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House Historical Association Official 2018 White House Christmas Ornament hangs on a tree in the Library at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Perhaps Mrs. Trump’s most successful years for the White House Christmas decor were 2019 and 2020. For the millions of Americans who will not see the White House up-close-and-personal, photos are everything.

These two years, with their glimmering lights and emphasis on American architecture, struck just the right note between the traditional style of Mrs. Bush (and other former First Ladies) and the modernist approach that Mrs. Obama came to love.

The East Colonnade is decorated for Christmas at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(@FLOTUS)

A small decorated Christmas Tree stands in the Red Room at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are on display in the East Room at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A small decorated Christmas tree stands in the middle of the Green Room at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are on display in the Grand Foyer at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is blossoming with handmade paper flowers that pays homage to the distinctive floral emblem of each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(@FLOTUS)

Christmas decorations are on display in the Cross Hall of the White House on November 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A White House gingerbread house is displayed in the State Dining Room of the White House on November 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are displayed in the East Room of the White House on November 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(@FLOTUS)

A Christmas tree and decorations are on display in the Red Room of the White House on November 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Christmas decorations are displayed in the East Room of the White House on November 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(@FLOTUS)

That brings us to Jill Biden’s Christmas decorations which she unveiled this week and detailed on Tuesday in a speech. The biggest disappointment thus far is that Mrs. Biden did not take photos or release video footage of herself putting the final touches on the decor.

Every year, Mrs. Trump would release a video and then, later, some photos of herself walking through the halls of the White House in admiration of what the residence’s design team had pulled off. An impeccably-dressed First Lady standing next to her vision should become a tradition though Mrs. Biden has already bucked it.

Mrs. Biden’s most startling decorations are in the East Collonade and the entrance of the West Wing. They are overtly cartoonish and appear as though a child designed them. The sophistication of the White House looks out of place with the gold stars and blue dots hanging through the hallway.

The stars, according to Mrs. Biden, represent “frontline workers” or something. We’re in year two of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, can we leave COVID-19 out of the decor? It is exhausting. The blue dots appear like a giant solar system school project while the wreaths on the doors across from them are entirely disconnected from the color scheme.

Then, at the entrance of the East Wing, oversized Dr. Seuss (didn’t they cancel him?) Christmas presents are stacked to create an archway around the doors. The screaming shade of red is detached from all the other shades of red throughout the White House decor and the giant bow atop the arch is wrinkled.

Wasn’t President Biden’s big campaign message “Build Back Better?” Why not a Christmas theme that aligned more with her husband’s overarching theme for the year? “Gifts from the Heart” seems misplaced.

Decorations are seen in the White House East Colonnade during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A Marine White House Military band plays Christmas music at the East Wing entrance of the White House during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

It is hard to screw up Christmas. Most of everything revolving around the holiday is glitzy, twinkling, rich, and grand — especially when the White House is the backdrop. It’s why even when a few rooms of Christmas decorations are approaching fugly, other rooms are stunning.

Take, for example, Mrs. Biden’s hallway in the White House and the theme of the State Dining room. In the hallway, polished arches are filled with greenery with traditional red berry accents and soft lights.

The State Dining room is the best of the bunch. Mrs. Biden says the trees on either side of the fireplace were turned effectively into photo albums as they are adorned with ornaments that showcase the former first families that have resided in the White House.

Hanging at the center of the trees, on the mantle, are striped stockings. It’s the picturesque traditional/contemporary balance, that is particularly lacking in many other rooms, which makes this display simply the best of them all.

A Marine White House Military social aide stands at attention in a hallway of the White House during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A Christmas tree is seen in the Red room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A ginger bread White House is seen in the State Dining room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Christmas trees are seen in the State Dining room during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A White House Military social aide walks through the Cross Hall of the White House during a press preview of the White House holiday decorations in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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