Georgian tapped to help decorate White House for Christmas

The holidays are right around the corner and one Georgian is taking his Christmas decorating talents to Washington D.C. for the second year in a row.

Jim Roberts owns Southern Traditions Floral and Gifts in Swainsboro. He said he has always had a knack for decorating.

When he found out about the application process to help decorate the White House, he applied right away.

"When you get the acceptance letter, it was like, you just want to pinch yourself because I couldn't believe it," said Roberts. "It's like I kept reading it over and over and over again because I couldn't believe it was actually real."

The holiday season always brings magic with it. Roberts had no idea just how far that magic would take him.

"It's just surreal. You constantly feel like you're in a dream because there's so much history in that house," described Roberts.

It has been 21 years and counting that Roberts' has made a name for himself as the owner of Southern Traditions Floral and Gifts in Swainsboro. The city has a population of about 7,400 people. Last year was Roberts' first opportunity to go to the White House.

"We were divided into teams. Your team is then allocated to a certain room," described Roberts, "Last year, I got to work in the Diplomatic Room which is a really big room. There's where officials and delegates come in. They're always greeted in that room."

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The opportunity though doesn't come easy. Thousands of people apply for the chance to go every year. Applicants go through a screening process before making the cut.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I now have a second in a lifetime opportunity back-to-back, and it's just surreal," said Roberts.

It came as an even bigger surprise this year since the number of volunteers is limited because of the pandemic.

"Last year was enough for a lifetime," said Roberts, "This is just icing on the cake, really."

Roberts along with the other volunteers will head to Washington D.C. the week of Thanksgiving. They'll spend that whole week at the White House getting the home ready for Christmas.