How to Get Nominated As a White House Decorator


So you want to help decorate the White House for the holidays?

White House Holiday Decorating

Here is the thing…you don’t have to be nominated! This is a misconception about decorating the White House for the holidays, you can actually submit your own application

Every year, the President and First Lady continue the tradition of welcoming volunteers from across the United States and U.S. territories to help prepare the White House for the holiday season. They encourage people of all backgrounds and beliefs to apply – educators, healthcare workers, students, military families and more. 

Around October, volunteer applications for the 2022 holiday season open up at

You can apply for a variety of volunteer opportunities:

Obama portrait in Grand Foyer


As Decorators, we assisted the Dr.Biden’s team with transforming the East and some of the West Wing for the holidays. The theme, We The People, was determined by the First Lady prior to our arrival. Our first few days were dedicated to organizing and crafting the materials needed to transform the space and then it was go time! 

Throughout the week we installed each room. We wired the wreaths hanging on the front of the house, added ornaments to every tree, painted books for the State Dining Room, made snowballs out of joint compound – it was a dream! 

“Each room and design element throughout the White House holiday décor represents what brings us together during the holidays and throughout the year.”

State Dining Room – We The Children
Bells DIY Project
State Dining Room
China Room – Food & Traditions


If you are in a band, or part of a group that could offer holiday themed entertainment during White House tours – this is the option for you. This year, there was an incredible orchestra performing in the Grand Foyer and the moment those strings started, my eyes welled up. Again, it was magical. 

Orchestra in White House Grand Foyer.

Open House Tour

You can be part of the group that welcomes guests to The People House. If I remember correctly, the White House expects thousands of visitors during this season and why wouldn’t they, every room looks stunning. 

You can find the volunteer application by visiting and entering “volunteer” in the search bar. 

What is the cost of attendance? 

Volunteers are responsible for individual travel and personal expenses.

The White House provided breakfast and lunch for each volunteer day. I also have to mention that the kitchen staff is so special. We were greeted with a smile every day and they were so happy to accomodate special food requirements. Shout out to Maria and Allan!

Does everyone get approved?

There are thousands of applicants every year so it makes sense that not applicants can be accepted. Even after being invited to attend, you are subject to background checks that will determine you attendance. 

But what should I wear?

Vanessa and her husband on reception day. Vanessa is wearing a green dress. He is wearing a blue suit.
Reveal day outfits in the main corridor.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has no idea what to wear to the White House. Let me start by saying – they are not kidding when they say that this is “The Peoples House” – I did not get the feeling that anyone was judging you for simply being you, so show off your unique style! That being said here are some pointers I personally recommend for this specific occasion.

Vanessa wearing a brown sweater, black plants, clean sneakers.
Group photo in front of brick building.
  • Wear comfortable and clean sneakers, you’ll be walking and moving around a lot.
  • No need for excessive warm clothing, you’ll be indoors the majority of the time.
  • You’ll be climbing ladders and reaching around big trees and there will be photographers and film crews present. Don’t wear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or restricts movement
  • Bring Tylenol. I didn’t stay as hydrated as a should have, this was great for migraines for achy feet.
  • Close toed shoes are mandatory.
  • Nice clean jeans are totally ok but if you prefer slacks, that works too.
  • Accessorize! Fun jewelry, festive colors, and fancy brooches are a big hit among volunteers.

The White House team will share details with you in advance but I hope these snapshots give you and idea of what. to wear.

If you have more questions about this experience, contact me, let’s chat!

Installation of the First Pets, Commander and Willow.
Installation of First Pets (Commander and Willow) by by Emily Barton Design.
Newest menorah in the White House.
Newest menorah to the White House collection.
Gold Star Trees honoring fallen soldiers.

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