Before President Obama boarded Marine One to leave for his annual holiday trip to Hawaii, he made a surprise stop to wish the press corps Christmas greetings.
"Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your family," he told reporters and cameramen as he shook hands with each person. He spent about ten minutes greeting those who cover his every move.
The relationship between the White House press corps and the president can sometimes be adversarial but on this occasion it was strictly a time for holiday cheer.
Earlier during his statement in the James Brady Briefing Room, the president wished "Happy Holidays" to several groups of people, including the White House press corps.
"So I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, a happy New Year to you and your families - and that includes everybody here in the press corps," he said. "I know you guys have been working hard, and your families will be happy to spend a little more time with you over the next few days."
It almost felt like a deja vu. Last year, the president did the same as he boarded his helicopter before departing for Hawaii. Maybe he's starting a new holiday tradition!
The mad dash to buy last minute Christmas presents is about at its peak. Shoppers rush around, their eyes glaze over. No words are exchanged but the message is clear, what can I find? What will it cost? Will they like this?
The president of the United States joined the throngs just days before Christmas with an unannounced stop at a local Best Buy to purchase Just Dance 3, a Wii game. “This is for the girls,” he said.
Retailers are banking on the holiday season to polish an otherwise dismal year in an economy that is struggling at best.
President Obama, who has delayed his Christmas getaway to Hawaii to join his family, is fighting with Congress to create jobs and ease the pressure on the unemployed, but there’s a lot of partisan bickering.
However, take a step away from all the political noise and listen.
Do you hear what I hear?
With Christmas only four days away, President Obama did some last-minute holiday shopping escaping the legislative stalemate in Congress over the payroll tax extensions.
The president took first dog Bo with him to visit an Alexandria, Virginia shopping center.
First stop: PetSmart – where Bo checked out a small poodle named "Cinnamon," according to its owner.
On the same day the White House website asked "what does $40 mean to you?" the president spent $41 for a rubber chew toy and a large bone.
His next stop: Best Buy – where the president said, "this [stop] is for the girls now." After browsing games in the Wii section, he settled on Just Dance 3 for first daughters Sasha and Malia.
"The girls beat me every time on these dance games," the president said. "But you'll never get a picture of me (playing) because I get graded F every time."
His total bill came to almost $200 for the dance game, the Sims 3 Pets video game and two $50 Apple gift cards. As he pulled out his credit card at the big box store the president joked, "Let's see if my credit card still works."
All that shopping can leave a president hungry, so stop #3: a local pizzeria where he purchased three large pizzas to-go.
Grand total: The president spent nearly $300 on his last-minute shopping trip.
First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters are already in Hawaii on vacation. Hopefully, they have been busy enjoying the beach and not reading online about their famous father's shopping excursion! Gifts are so much better when they are a surprise.
First Lady Michelle Obama met with patients and their families at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC on Monday. Before reading "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the children, she was asked about her favorite holiday story, the first family Christmas eve traditions and even what she planned to give the president for Christmas. Here is her answer:
Well, again, we go through this every year. I’m not going to say because it’s going to be reported in the paper and it won’t be a surprise. Because he will read it. And he’ll say, Oh, that's what you’re getting me. So you know I try to get him stuff that he likes to do, sports stuff, clothes. But the truth is, we generally - we always say we’re not going to give each other gifts because the gift is the love that we have for each other. Yes, that's a good thing. But then he usually gets me something. And then I’m like, we weren’t supposed to get each other stuff. so I got him something but I’m not going to say. All right? That make sense? Last year one of the kids suggested that I get him a hot tub. Remember that? We didn't get him a hot tub.
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - The Obama family went to their backyard on Thursday evening to participate in a holiday tradition. The Obamas attended the 89th annual Lighting of the National Christmas Tree and the Pageant of Peace held on the Ellipse of the White House grounds.
President Obama, joined by his daughters and the "Grandmother in Chief" Marian Robinson, spoke of the birth of Jesus and how the message of the Christian faith should bring together all Americans to serve their communities.
"No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it’s a message that can unite all of us on this holiday season," Mr. Obama said. "It’s important for us to keep in mind the central message of this season, and keep Christ’s words not only in our thoughts, but also in our deeds."
Among the star-studded cast was Kermit the Frog who joined First Lady Michelle Obama in reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
The National Christmas Tree is a new tree this year after the previous one was destroyed by a wind storm last February.
"We all know that this tradition is much larger than any single tree. And tonight, once again, we gather here not simply to light some decorations, but to honor a story that lights the world," the president said.