GEARHART — While most everyone else will be eating Thanksgiving dinner, Linda Goldfarb will be on a plane to the White House.
Goldfarb, the owner of By The Way gift and coffee shop in Gearhart, has been chosen to be one of a handful of designers to help decorate the White House for Christmas.
“When I got the email, I was just so excited,” she said. “It’s the biggest honor to be asked to do this.”
Decorating the halls of the first family never crossed her mind as a possibility until a friend mentioned there was an application open to do it earlier this summer, Goldfarb said. Having volunteers help set up the holiday decor is a long-standing tradition, with about 150 volunteers from 29 states helping to deck the White House halls last year, USA Today reported.
At first she was reticent, figuring the odds of being chosen would be “1 in a million.” But after working in the world of interior design for the past 30 years, she couldn’t resist the urge to throw in an application.
All was quiet until early October, when Goldfarb returned from an extended trip to Europe and found an email from the White House telling her she had been selected.
But before the excitement could take hold, slight panic set in. Because of her extended time out of the country, she had not received the email until the day after recipients were supposed confirm their attendance.
“My heart dropped,” she said. “I thought that I had gotten this once-in-a-lifetime chance … and lost it.”
Much to her relief, the White House ended up accepting her RSVP anyway, and Goldfarb is now gearing up to spend about a week in Washington, D.C.
Goldfarb isn’t sure what to expect — details concerning the specifics of how and what will be decorated are kept tightly under wraps to prevent leaks, she said.
Goldfarb believes what likely made her application stand out was about 13 years of experience decorating Christmas trees for the Providence Festival of Trees fundraiser events in Seaside and southern Oregon. She described her aesthetic as traditional, but also sometimes “wild,” in reference to a year where she decorated a tree with gnomes. While some of the White House’s Christmas decorations from last year drew some criticism for being “too eerie,” Goldfarb said she thought the hallway offered mystery and was done “beautifully.”
While Goldfarb is excited about the prospect of bringing some of her artistic vision into the home and the shot at getting a photo with first lady Melania Trump, Goldfarb said getting the chance to even play a small part in designing a building as historical and with as much grandeur as the White House is about every designers dream.
“It’s really an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.