Being from England, there are lots of American holiday traditions I don't understand, like why you guys have two festive occasions within a month of each other, and why everyone gets so agitated about Starbucks cups. But this is a new one: Wearing blood-red leather gloves to decorate your Christmas tree, as Melania Trump chose to do in the White House's 2018 Christmas portraits, (opens in new tab) which feels less like a weird America thing and more just...weird.
Don't get me wrong: The gloves are certainly festive! They match the tree's baubles with almost eerie precision—both are that cherry-red shade of a poisoned apple in a Disney movie. And perhaps Melania has a very specific Christmas tree allergy that I've never heard of but would have a lot of sympathy for, if true!
But the plot thickens: According to the batch of photos released by the White House on Monday afternoon, Melanie did remove both gloves a minute later after stepping away from the tree and reaching out to caress what I think is a piece of tinsel on the mantelpiece. So maybe Melania was just being cautious? I guess Christmas trees can be kind of spiky, if you poke them super hard??
Anyway, here she is with gloves:
And sans gloves:
And here's Melania just walking around the White House's Red Room (probably quite different from the one in 50 Shades), perhaps wearing gloves, perhaps not, who can know for sure!
As I said, kind of weird, but maybe a facet of American historical tradition I didn't know about (after all, if it wasn't covered in Hamilton, chances are I don't know about it). But here's something else I can't explain: Why are a bunch of pencils jammed together to make a wreath? And hung ominously with a scarlet bow?
Also? There are "Be Best" baubles jammed into the Christmas tree.
But I digress. Back to the gloves, which Twitter and myself were equally baffled by.
The @WhiteHouse is sparkling for the Christmas season! pic.twitter.com/ncNhlkZAWlNovember 26, 2018
Wearing blood red gloves in the house while touching your tree is something middle America can relate to pic.twitter.com/XTHwOgOetXNovember 26, 2018
Is it possible that touching a tree (a dead one, but whatever) counts as gardening? So you might think it prudent to slip on some gardening gloves? I need answers.
Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books in 2024.
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