A First Family Christmas

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“It’s a Wonderful Life” is her favorite Christmas movie, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” her favorite Christmas program, “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” her favorite story and her family eats pie – “lots of pie” – during the holidays.

Those were some of the tidbits that First Lady Michelle Obama shared during a visit this week to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she visited the neonatal intensive care nursery and was joined by first dog Bo and Santa Claus as she read her favorite story with children at the hospital.

Afterwards, the children asked what the first family does on Christmas Eve (have dinner, wait for Santa), what the first lady was giving the president for Christmas (it’s a secret) and what was on the Christmas day menu (Sometimes turkey, sometimes steak and lots of veggies, especially broccoli).

“Well, we have a tradition. My husband grew up in Hawaii, right? That’s where his family is; and that’s hometown for us. And we’ve gone there every year for 20 years. So every year, we go to Hawaii. And by the time Christmas Eve comes around, we put out the cookies for Santa. We usually have a fun Christmas Eve dinner, and all the kids get around — they’re playing, they’re really excited, and they don’t go to bed right away because they’re too excited, and then we have to make them go to bed. It’s a big hassle. And then we wait for Santa. It’s pretty simple,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript of the visit.

Similarly, the first lady asked the children what they did on Christmas Eve, what they ate and acknowledged the excitement and anticipation of waiting for Santa to put gifts under the tree.

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“All right, so you know, with your dinner, having a little meat and having some vegetables, be a good thing. We do it at our house, okay? And then we have dessert. And we have pie. Lots of pie. The president loves pie. (Laughter.) All kinds of pie.”

Obama was chided after admitting she had yet to put together her list for Santa this year.

“You got to get on that,” one child told her.

“I got to get on it. It’s true,” the first lady said. “But what I really, really want is for all kids to grow up with the chance to be healthy and happy, and to live a good life, and to get a good education, and to grow up and be anything they want to be. And if every child could have just that simple gift out of life that would be a wonderful Christmas present for me.”