Topsham florist Wendy Herrick has been picked from a pool of thousands of applicants to help decorate the White House for Christmas. She and 99 other volunteer designers from across the country will head to Washington, D.C., this Sunday to meet with first lady Jill Biden and start planning.

Topsham florist Wendy Herrick arranges flowers. Photo contributed by Wendy Herrick

Herrick has been a florist for 27 years and owned her own business, Wendy Herrick Floral Designs and Tuxedo Rentals, since 2010.

Every year, the president and first lady invite volunteer decorators to apply for the chance to work at the White House during the holiday season. Selected volunteers are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement to protect the project and its theme, which won’t be revealed until after Thanksgiving.

Herrick said she won’t know the theme or how many rooms she will decorate until she arrives at the volunteer reception next week.

Last year, the theme was “gifts from the heart,” showcased in a design using 6,000 feet of ribbon, 41 Christmas trees, over 300 candles, 10,000 ornaments and more than 78,000 lights, according to

Having applied to the program a few times in the past, Herrick said winning a spot was a long shot with 9,000 applicants and only 100 positions available. She said to help “manifest” her fate, she placed a sign on her business door just after submitting her application that read, “Closed December 1, decorating the White House.”

Herrick said the big question on her application was, “Why do you want to volunteer at the White House?” Herrick said for her it was about family and duty to her country.

Growing up, she said her father’s motto was, “After high school, you go to college or you join the military.” While her stepbrothers followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the armed forces, Herrick attended the Rittner School of Floral Design in Boston, laying the foundation of a career that led her to this moment.

“This is a nice way to say, ‘See, Dad, I am serving the country in a small but beautiful way,'” she said.

Comments are not available on this story.