Tuttle Woman Chosen To Decorate The White House

An Oklahoma woman helps bring an annual Christmas tradition to light at the nation’s capital.

Friday, December 2nd 2022, 10:06 pm

An Oklahoma woman helps bring an annual Christmas tradition to light at the nation’s capital.

The opportunity came through a seldom used form of communication; one with which she is quite familiar.

Each year, the sound of stringed instruments and the shine of stringed lights bring the Christmas spirit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

They bring the same to Tia Durham 1,300 miles away in Tuttle, Okla.

“Every year they have an HGTV special and so my grandmother and me always watch it together,” Durham said. “Small town Tuttle, Oklahoma dreaming of coming to the White House someday.”

In the heart of the small town, from her job at the post office, she chased that dream.

“I said I’m going to send a letter,” she recalled. “I work for the post office, why not?”

The handwritten note talked about her story, the wreaths she made for her shop Okie Gypsy and the reason she wrote in the first place.

“I talked about how my grandmother is getting elderly and I thought that it would be really cool if this was something I could experience while she is still around.”

She put a stamp on it and mailed that letter to the First Lady of the United States.

 “I wrote it hoping maybe out there somebody might read my letter,” she explained. “But I figured it’s probably just going to go to a trashcan somewhere.”

Somebody out there read her letter and encouraged her to apply. She was eventually chosen to represent the Sooner State in decorating the East Colonnade.  

“We got together and decided it was going to be like a snowy looking forest,” she described. “We just took little mirrors and glued them on fishing line. I mean everything in there was handmade. Nothing was pre-bought in there.”

After five days in the People’s House, she had behind the scenes stories to add to a yearly tradition.

“My grandmother? She loved it, she just wanted me to keep telling her more.”

1,300 miles were strung together through handwritten words and holiday spirit.


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