President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed the official Christmas tree which will be displayed in the White House. The 19 1/2 foot Fraser fir was brought to the steps of the North Portico by a horse-drawn carriage. The 100-year-old tradition of the first lady welcoming the traditional Christmas tree was a very special event for one family from Charlotte, North Carolina. The First Couple had just made their “Cinderella story” come true.
The arrival of the official White House Christmas tree is a tradition that goes back over 100 years. Typically, the first lady welcomes the tree to the White House under the North Portico. The tree is delivered by horse-drawn carriage by a man in a top hat, and the first lady receives it.
On Monday afternoon, the Marine band played holiday music as both Melania and Donald Trump greeted the carriage drawing the tree to the White House. There were journalists and friends of the Trump family in the audience. But for the Smith family of Charlotte, North Carolina, the event marked what they are calling a real “Cinderella story” in the making.
“The grower of the 19 1/2-foot-tall Fraser fir that will be displayed at the White House beginning Monday admits he almost abandoned it. The tree didn’t seem to be doing as well as others on his Mountain Top Fraser Fir farm in Newland, Avery County,” Larry Smith told The Charlotte Observer in a phone interview Tuesday night.
“It hadn’t been trimmed the last couple of years,” he said. “I’d basically abandoned it.” This all started way back in September when the Smith family got one of the biggest calls of their lives: the White House would like to purchase the official Christmas tree from Mountain Top Fraser Fir farm.
So Larry Smith was shocked when the White House officials show up in late September and were immediately drawn to the tree Smith had abandoned. But the officials saw something in the tree, Smith said: “They just loved the natural look to it.”
“It’s going from Herbie the Love Bug to a Bentley,” Smith told the Observer. “It’s like a Cinderella story.” But there’s more. This was the Smith’s family 5th time trying to get the coveted deal to supply the White House Christmas tree. Most people don’t know that it’s a contest.
The officials went to his farm after Smith won “the 2018 Grand Champion designation at the National Christmas Tree Association’s Christmas Tree Contest in Green Bay, Wisconsin, giving him the honor of providing the official White House Christmas tree,” High Country Press reported. It was his fifth try, the Avery Journal reported.
So, it’s not only a Cinderella story for the one-time abandoned Fraser fir, but also for the family who grew it from a sapling. Smith, 59, told the Observer that he “set his first trees” in 1977 as a high school senior. He also earned a degree in turfgrass technology at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory in 1979.
The tree selected for display at the White House is 25 to 30 years old, he said. The Smiths were so excited as the president and the first lady greeted them.
ABC reports, “Smith and his family were on hand to present this year’s tree to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The tree will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House this holiday season, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group.”
The other big news item was that the president patted the Clydesdale on the butt. The Daily Mail reports, “The president gave one of the Clydesdale horses a pat on the butt as they checked out the tree.” But the real star beside the beautiful Fraser fir was, of course, Melania Trump.
Melania Trump wore a gorgeous red plaid cape from Michael Kors over black slacks and a top with stunning suede Louboutin boots. FLOTUS really made quite a stir with many articles just devoted to this great Christmas look she put together. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” headlined the Daily Mail referring to Melania’s outfit.
It was a festive afternoon with the president and first lady all smiles. They really looked relaxed and in good spirits, which is nice to see. Well, its the start of the Christmas season, and for the Smith family it marked a great day as one of their dreams finally came true.