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Diana Adamson, Debbie Hoover chosen to decorate White House for Christmas

MADISON/WASHINGTON D.C. – The White House has invited Diana Adamson and Debbie Hoover of Madison to serve as volunteers for Christmas decorating.

“We’re so excited to be included in the decorating group,” Debbie said. “We applied on a wish and a prayer.”

Watching a HGTV special about White House traditions convinced Debbie and Diana to pursue their aspiration. Diana researched the application process.

“We filled out the application while we talked over the phone. I never thought we would get it,” Debbie said. Debbie and Diana had to document their experiences in decorating. The White House staff asked for their website; neither friend has one so they listed pages of social media with their handiwork.

“Time passed. I forgot about it,” Debbie said. However, Diana was more optimistic. She already had written their requested travel dates for Washington in her calendar. Luckily, they eventually received an email confirming the selection process was ongoing.

“Finding out we’re going is crazy. Who would have thought that out of 8,000-plus applications to select 150 volunteers that two women from the little town of Madison would be going to the White House?” Debbie said.

Their official invitation thanked them for decorating “the White House in preparation for the 2019 holiday season. This year, thousands of exceptional individuals applied from each state across the country.” Debbie and Diana will decorate on Nov. 25-27.

The White House does not reimburse volunteers for any expense during their decorating time. “We are willing to pay for the honor to decorate the White House,” Diana said.

At 6 a.m., volunteers will be driven from their D.C. hotel to the White House, where they will eat breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Decorating starts at 8 a.m. They also will eat lunch at the White House. At 5 p.m., the shuttle returns them to the hotel.

Dress code for female volunteers requires slacks (or modest dresses) and closed-toe shoes. Volunteers have to store their cell phones while ‘on the job.’ Photography is prohibited.

Debbie, Diana and other volunteers will enjoy a private tour of the White House that the Visitors Office Staff will lead.

Debbie and Diana do not know which room(s) they will decorate or the color theme, ornaments or garland that they will use. “We’re just happy to be a part of this process,” Diana said.

Back at home, the friends always have enjoyed decorating as an artistic outlet. “It’s something both of us have always done in our homes,” Diana said.

For decades, Debbie and Diana have gained local notoriety for their flair in decorating — from their homes to Madison’s streets for Christmas and at many celebrations, like banquets, weddings and showers. “Debbie is a wedding/event planner, decorator and florist. I have helped with many events with Debbie,” Diana said.

Together, they have won numerous awards in the “Christmas Magic” tree decorating contest in downtown Madison. In December, the Hoover home will be featured in “Madison Living” magazine for its Christmas decor in 2018.

Diana uses her bachelor’s degree in visual design for many projects; she teaches sewing at S&R Sewing & Vacuum Center and JOANN Fabrics and Crafts, along with digitizing designs for embroidery. Debbie works full time as a nurse with the Veterans Administration.

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