December 25th, 2012
10:55 PM ET

Obama spends Hawaiian Christmas visiting troops, plans early return to DC

Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) - President Obama began his Christmas morning like most Americans – opening gifts and singing carols, according to the White House.

No word on what was under the tree for the president this year, though a fiscal cliff deal was clearly not.  Later Tuesday, the White House announced Obama would cut his vacation short and return to Washington the same day the Senate reconvenes to tackle the looming January 1 deadline before taxes automatically increase and spending cuts set in.

Meanwhile, the president visited the local Marine Base Tuesday afternoon, where he addressed over 100 troops and their families as they were sitting down to a Christmas dinner.  This came after Obama made calls to  service members on Christmas Eve, according to the White House.

“The greatest honor I have as President is being Commander-in-Chief. And the reason it’s an honor is because not only do we have the finest military in the world but we also have the finest fighting men and women in the world. And so many of you make sacrifices day in, day out on behalf of our freedom, on behalf of our security,” Obama told the service members Tuesday.

While the president's vacation is coming to a close early, the White House says first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia will remain on the island.

Topics: President Obama