The White House is spreading holiday cheer a bit early this year.
On Monday evening, First Lady Melania Trump and her son Baron accepted the official White House Christmas tree — four days earlier than normal.
Diane and Jim Chapman, along with their son David, made up the winning team who presented the tree to the Trump family Monday night. The National Christmas Tree Association bestowed the title of grand champion on the family back in September after two years of fierce competition.
“Every time we come to Washington, we feel like a country mouse coming to the big city,“ Diane Chapman told Independent Journal Review. ”We are just as excited and nervous this time around."
Victory is nothing new to the Chapman family. The Chapmans won the National Christmas Tree Association's contest twice before — once in 1998 under the Clinton administration and again in 2003 under the Bush administration.
But this time the Chapmans are bringing a few extra guests along for the journey: their grandchildren. Jackson Beloz, Eliana Considine and her younger sister Annalise joined the family for their inaugural sojourn to the most famous house in Washington, D.C.
“This just makes it very special for us,” Chapman told IJR. "Seeing their reaction will make it all worth it.
Both Annalise and Eliana have been bursting with anticipation for the trip, eager to share stories of the extraordinary journey with their friends and classmates back in Wisconsin.
“It was so neat seeing the White House, and it looked just like the pictures in my book,” Eliana, 7, told IJR.
9-year-old Annalise told IJR that her favorite highlight of the visit was her interaction with some new friends close to her own age.
“The best part was getting to pet the two horses who were 4 and 6 years old!” she said.
The responsibility and honor weigh heavy on the Chapmans, who take pride in making the holiday memorable for families across the country. In giving to the rest of the community, the Chapman family gets a priceless gift — tradition.
“Growing Christmas trees is very rewarding because you get to see how happy everyone is when they come to pick one out,” Chapman added. “It is family time making memories.”
Neither the first lady nor the Chapman family made official remarks at the event, instead taking advantage of several photo opportunities in front of the White House. The Champman family’s prized 19-and-a-half-foot Balsam fir Christmas tree will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House for the remainder of the holiday season.
The tree was brought into the White House North Portico by horse-drawn carriage with National Christmas Tree Association grand champions Jim and Diane Chapman following behind. Accompanying the Tannenbaum's grand entrance was the Marine Band's brass quintet playing familiar holiday tunes “Jingle Bells,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and "O Christmas Tree,” which was an appropriate choice for the occasion.
Monday's ceremony marked the 51st year that winners of the National Christmas Tree Association contest have provided the official White House Christmas tree.
Typically, the first family receives the Christmas tree on the Friday following Thanksgiving, but according to the Associated Press, the Trump family will be out of town that day at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Holiday festivities will continue tomorrow with the traditional White House turkey pardon, set for 1 p.m. in the Rose Garden.