Local decorator chosen two years running to help decorate the White House for Christmas


Swainsboro, GA (WJBF)- The holidays are coming soon and many Americans are looking forward to decorating their homes for Christmas. One local designer has been chosen to decorate The People’s House for the second year in a row.

It was Jim Roberts’ dream to someday be able to help decorate the White House for Christmas. In 2019, his dream came true. Then he was invited to return to the White House to be part of this year’s decorating team.

Roberts, owner of Southern Traditions Floral and Gifts in Swainsboro, began his career as a decorator when he was a teenager. He said when he was chosen to help decorate the White House last year, he was shocked.

“I almost cried, because it’s something I’ve wanted for a long, long time. And, it was my second year applying. So I didn’t get in the first year. So the second year I did get in. I was almost ecstatic. I just stared at the screen when I got the email for the longest time thinking it was unreal,” smiled Roberts.

The process to become a decorator for the White House is an involved one. Applicants must also send it photos of their work.

“Usually in August, they open up applications through the White House and you have to send in an application,” Roberts explained. “And when you send in the application to the White house, then they go through a screening process. And it’s very strenuous. And there’s lots and lots of applications that go through.”

Roberts is very humble about being chosen two years running. Michael Siewert is the owner of Signature Interiors and Gifts in Evans. He said that being chosen once, much less two years in a row, is career changing.

“Well I moved from Washington DC in 2005, so knowing the DC area and what that does, that is going to put him on the map for bigger and better things, not only in the Augusta Area because that’s going to be very important to people,” Siewert said. “But on his level, he’s going to be able to reach out to so many more people. They’re gonna come to him. He doesn’t have…this is the best advertising you can get.”

Siewert said the magnitude of this opportunity is huge for Roberts.

“I mean it’s huge, not only on a national level, but an international level. I mean everyone pays attention to the White House especially now and at Christmas as well, because it’s always beautiful and it’s America’s House.”

Roberts encourages anyone who is interested in applying to decorate the White House for Christmas to do it.

“Don’t think that it’s out of the realm of possibilities, because I thought that for so long. That nobody would choose somebody from a little small town in Georgia. But I had the opportunity and now I’m getting the opportunity again. And so I say, go for your dreams. Shoot for it,” said Roberts.

Roberts said if you apply and aren’t chosen, to keep applying. He will leave for Washington DC the weekend before Thanksgiving to begin decorating the White House by the unveiling on Black Friday.

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