White House dream coming true

Shows is one of a hundred volunteers chosen to help decorate for Christmas

A Lake Charles woman will be spending her Thanksgiving week in Washington D.C. this year, as she fulfills her dream of getting to decorate the White House for Christmas.

Kathy Shows said that she has always had a love for Christmas decorating, even calling herself “a bit of a Christmas decorating fanatic”, but that she never expected to have the chance to decorate a site with as much history and grandeur as the White House.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the tradition of decorating the White House and I’ve read about it thoroughly over the years, but I truly never expected to be able to do it myself one day,” Shows stated.

Each year, one hundred volunteers are selected by the White House and First Lady to assist with transforming the rooms and halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into a winter wonderland, and Shows said that she first learned of the opportunity to participate nearly 15 years ago. Despite her burning desire, she said, there always seemed to be reasons not to apply.

“I had children at home when I first found out about it, so I just couldn’t justify not being home at Thanksgiving,” she stated.

“Each year I would open up the application and then I would just tell myself that I would do it next year instead.”

Now an empty nester, Shows said she had begun to run out of reasons to say no to herself. In March, she completed the essay and application and submitted it. In October, after nearly forgetting she had even applied, she said she got an email alerting her that she had been selected for this year’s project.

“I just couldn’t believe it. I thought that the email had to be a fake at first and was scared to open it, but I realized it was true and I just started crying as I read it,” she stated.

With the full support of her husband and family, Shows purchased her plane tickets and began preparing herself as best she could. Historically, the decorating theme is selected each year by the First Lady and is expected to be revealed to volunteers as they arrive on Monday morning. Because of that secrecy, Shows said she will be doing a lot of decorating “in the moment.”

“It’ll be an interesting experience, but an exciting one that I can’t wait to be a part of,” she said.

One of her most anticipated projects to see in person is the Blue Room Christmas Tree.

“The Blue Room tree will symbolize for me what this whole experience is all about; the rich history and the tradition behind decorating the White House and getting to play a part in that tradition. That will make this all real for me.”

‘I’ve always been fascinated by the tradition of decorating the White House, … but I truly never expected to be able to do it myself one day.’

Kathy Shows

Lake Charles resident


(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) In this file photo from Christmas 2017 at the White House, the halls were decorated with the help of local volunteers. Kathy Shows of Lake Charles was chosen to volunteer this year during the week of Thanksgiving.