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Palm Bay Florist Helping Decorate the White House

By now, Dee Grimshaw is probably up to her eyeballs in executive holiday decor.

The Palm Bay, Fla., florist, owner of Beautiful Bouquets&Baskets, was one of about 40 floral and design professionals from across the United States invited to decorate the White House for Christmas. She left on Thanksgiving day, and will spend five days volunteering her time at the first family's home.

Before leaving, she had no idea what to expect.

"They have not divulged the theme this year, so we're not sure if we're going to be doing all fresh arrangements, all silk arrangements, or what part of the White House we're actually doing," Grimshaw said. "They're not allowing us to bring anything except maybe a camera."

Grimshaw applied for the position earlier this year through the White House's floral department. She was contacted in September, and went through a background check. In October, she received an official invitation from the office of the Social Secretary and on Nov. 20, an invitation to a reception from first lady Michelle Obama.

Grimshaw has to cover all costs for the trip, and she doesn't get paid for her work. She will, however, get lunch and dinner on the days she decorates. She was told that for the first few days, she'd be working from 7:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. prepping decorations at a warehouse, then on the last two days she'd work 12-hour shifts installing decorations at rooms in the White House.

Grimshaw said she's excited for the opportunity and a bit nervous.

"Of course, it's going to be a challenge, because it's something that I've never done before," she said. "In the grand scheme of things, it's huge."

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