As the festive season unfolds in the White House, celebrations and decorations, like the North Carolina Fraser fir tree in the Blue Room, should ideally bring joy and unity. However, this year’s Christmas display, orchestrated by First Lady Jill Biden, falls short for several reasons, including her belittlement of German and Austrian culture through the hijacking of the Nutcracker ballet and Tchaikovsky’s iconic composition.

The White House’s bizarre version can be seen discussed below.

Are the treasures of European cultural heritage so embarrassing and politically toxic now that, if they are to be enjoyed at all, we have to twist and mock them?

The Nutcracker ballet has deep roots in European history. ETA Hoffman’s 1816 tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” laid the foundation for the ballet, with Pyotr Tchaikovsky later immortalizing it through his musical composition in 1892 in Russia. Nutcrackers themselves can be traced back to late-17th-century Germany. But none of this is apparent due to the modernization of characters, inappropriate dancing, and mutilated rhythmic composition of the ballet’s “Waltz of the Flowers.” The White House takes such care not to misgender, discriminate, or overlook other voices, but in this case, there was little cultural sensitivity shown?

The controversy surrounding Jill Biden’s Christmas display doesn’t stop there; it extends to the performers themselves. Dorrance Dance, a New York City-based tap dance company chosen to showcase the Nutcracker Suite, is proud of their anti-American ideologies. The group’s members are known for their open stance against law enforcement, advocating for the abolition of prisons, and expressing admiration for Marxist communist Angela Davis.

Dorrance Dance’s anti-police sentiments and disdain for American values further affirm that this display was not meant to be festive or to celebrate the season; it was meant to further push an agenda. The group’s overtly political agenda raises questions about the appropriateness of their inclusion in a celebration meant to bring people together, regardless of their political affiliations.

The dance company’s website includes a full page dedicated to urging white individuals to “check their privilege.” This injection of divisive politics into a cultural performance for a national celebration alienates a significant portion of the American population, as German Americans account for roughly 49 million people and approximately 17% of the US population (Institute for Cultural Diplomacy). Moreover, linking visitors to organizations like Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) raises concerns about the politicization of a traditionally apolitical event.

Christmas, a season of joy and unity, should ideally transcend political divisions. Taking attention away from the true meaning of the season, the birth of Jesus Christ, is privileged in itself and lacks humility. The lack of respect for the tradition of the Nutcracker and inclusion of a group with such extreme political views in a performance showcased to the American public sends a message: their political agenda and social ideologies are all that matters.

The White House Christmas display is there to set an example of what a true American Christmas looks like, but it is very safe to say their version of Christmas and mine could not be more different.