Since everyone seems to agree with me that White House Christmas trees are garish and ugly, I thought I’d press my luck and make a bigger point. It’s funny, almost everywhere else in the culture the trend seems to be toward things that are authentic, organic, natural etc. One reason is that such things are increasingly rare. Up until the 20th century, artificial light, including candle and lantern light, was special. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago when indoor lighting of any kind was a treat, or a luxury. The Christmas Tree tradition comes out of those times. The WH tradition is a mere 90 years old, but even 90 years ago a lit up tree was something special to behold.
It seems to me aesthetics have changed. Flashy lights are everywhere. They count as special effects about as much as riding a bike passes for rapid transit. Let’s put it this way, a nicely appointed White House Christmas tree is a venerable tradition. A garishly neon Christmas tree is a product of the television age and it’s time to find a better way.