Trump, who is spending the holidays with his family here at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago club, keeps a small footprint in town, despite decades of battles with the community over everything from air traffic to the size of the flagpole at his club.
In the past two weeks, the president-elect has only left Mar-a-Lago a handful of times -- for golf and dinner at the Trump International Golf Club, and for Christmas Eve mass.
Chris Ruddy, the CEO of conservative news outlet Newsmax, is a club member and friend of Trump’s who dined with the president-elect during his time here. “He likes his surroundings,” Ruddy says of Trump's affinity for ensconcing himself at Mar-a-Lago.
Ruddy also met with Trump on Wednesday alongside historian Douglas Brinkley to talk past inaugurals with a focus on Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Kennedy.
The transition team assembles the press at the main club entrance –- the iron and glass door decorated with a Christmas wreath -– between two bronze statues of lions, and just a stone's throw away from the croquet garden and the open ocean.
Inside the club, Trump plays the gracious host, greeting members at the Christmas Eve dinner, where the national anthem was played when Trump made his entrance, according to an attendee.
Trump also greeted and mingled with members Wednesday at a club dinner, personally calling reporters back to his clubhouse to see the show – his advisers touting the 300 guests in attendance.
Between meetings with top aides and potential cabinet picks, Trump will mingle with members walking casually through the clubhouse, according to a transition aide and members of the club.
At times, Trump can be seen in the living room area straight through the front door –- animated, even looking at his phone –- during meetings with senior staff. “He’s very welcoming,” said Ruddy. “It’s really his home and he treats the members as part of his family.”
According to one designer producing the event, Trump, a hands-on host, and Melania are as involved in preparing the club for the annual bash, as in year's past.
“He is involved in New Year’s Eve, and Melania also,” said Steve Levine, the business manager of Jose Graterol Designs, which has designed the New Year’s party at the club for several years. “They’re not any less engaged.”
Representatives for Mar-a-Lago did not return requests for comment on Trump's participation in the New Year's party.
And after 17 days away from his Manhattan skyscraper, the president-elect will return to Trump Tower on New Years Day, continuing to fill out the remainder of his Cabinet with just 19 days until he’s sworn into office.