Look, Melania Trump tried this Christmas. She really did.
The first lady ditched the creepy ballet dancers and blood red trees that decorated the White House in Christmases past, opting instead for bright lights, bows, and bobbles that in any other home might look cheerful—if incredibly ostentatious.
“The Spirit of America,” as Melania so subtly calls her state-sponsored jingoism, is the most sterile of her three attempts at holiday decorating. It appears preemptively designed to be impossible to poke fun at, unlike last year’s Shining-esque color scheme or the stark-bare, dreary tree branches erected in 2017.
And yet, in a video posted to her Twitter account on Sunday, even Melania eyes her winter wonderland with a weary suspicion, like how one might view a CVS Christmas display put up in late September.
Stock music—the faux-soothing, too-repetitive kind that causes department store Santas to drink throughout their shifts—plays as Melania blitzes through the Grand Foyer, perhaps wanting it all to be over just as much as we do.
Clad in all white, with her coat thrown over her shoulders as usual, Melania crosses her arms and does totally normal, real person things. She stares at a bouquet of flowers, sprinkles what looks like salt (is it decorative... white stuff?) over a tree branch to mimic snow, and gives the camera a money shot of a diamond ring.
“I am delighted to share this beautiful exhibit of patriotism for all to see, and excited for everyone to experience the beauty of the #Christmas season!” the first lady wrote on Twitter. A Scrabble board spelling out “Be Best,” her obtuse children’s initiative whose mission we all stopped pretending to understand years ago, rests on a lonely fir branch.
The doors to the White House Advent Calendar—you can see FLOTUS opening up the first—are devoid of treats, making it, even by a non-partisan definition, the worst one that ever existed.
Although Melania (or more accurately, the many volunteers who actually did her heavy lifting) has decked the halls with a reported 29 evergreens, 14,000 ornaments, and enough American flag prints to distract Tomi Lahren for days, there is one thing missing from the decadent display.
Like the way she dresses, Melania’s “beautiful exhibit” lacks the genuine merriment that compels Americans to get off their couch the weekend after Thanksgiving and put up a heavy, cumbersome, oh-God-why-is-this-thing-sticky Christmas tree in the first place.
But Melania’s gussied-up scene appears to be anything but jolly. Capitalizing on the holidays is only enjoyable when you’re surrounded by people who make spending vacation days worthwhile. If Melania thinks her decorations might serve as adequate damage control for her husband’s spiraling presidency, then she’s hoping for a Christmas miracle.