Merry Christmas 2012

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Our family is so pleased you could join us as we take time to share in the many joys of the holiday season. This year at the White House, we celebrate the traditional holiday festivities that fill our hearts with warmth and cheer.

Each year, the holidays remind us of the many blessings we experience over the course of our lives, from the simple pleasures of laughing and sharing our meals with friends and family to the fulfillment that comes from giving back and serving others. May we all carry forth the spirit of the season and take time to lift up others in our homes and communities—not only during this special time, but also throughout the year.

We hope the decorations and time-honored traditions you see in the White House bring you the same joy they bring our family. We send our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for peace and happiness in the New Year.

Barack Obama & Michelle Obama



See Highlights of the 2012 White House Holiday Décor


Norad Santa Tracker

~ * ~ NORAD Tracking Santa ~ * ~

NORAD uses radar, satellites, Santa cams, and fighter jets to track Santa Claus.
Track Santa’s location:


37 thoughts on “Merry Christmas 2012

  1. WH

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing
    Kailua, Hawaii (50th State)

    First lady Michelle Obama answered calls from children for NORAD’s Santa-tracking program
    Kaneohe, Hawaii

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    • November 28, 2012


      East Room

      1:33 P.M. EST

      MRS. OBAMA: Well, hi, everyone. Welcome to the White House. Pretty cool, huh? Yes.

      Well, let me start by thanking Jennifer, first of all, for that very lovely introduction, and to welcome her family here as well, her father and her husband. We are just so grateful for your service and so glad you could be here. Thank you, Jennifer, for everything that your family — you and your family have done for this country and what you’ve done to help make this house as beautiful as it is.

      As First Lady, I think you all know that I have had the privilege of traveling all across this country. And one of the best things I get to do is to meet with all of the wonderful, extraordinary military families like Jennifer’s family and all of your families. And it’s an honor, truly an honor to host you all here today at the White House. It’s a cool house. I like it.

      I have said this many times before and I will say it again, because I can’t say it enough — our military families truly represent the very best that this country has to offer. And I’ve seen it up close. You all do so much for this country, and you do it with such amazing poise and grace.

      You all are outstanding neighbors. You are just phenomenal, focused parents. You all are tremendous coworkers and community leaders in your own rights. And you all do this under such extraordinary circumstances. So many of you are doing it while moving from base to base every couple of years, enduring all of those months of long deployments with loved ones serving, oftentimes, halfway around the world.

      For more:


      First Lady Previews the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

      Published on Nov 28, 2012 by whitehouse

      First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children, to the White House for the first viewing of the 2012 holiday decorations.

    • Bo Inspects the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

      Published on Nov 29, 2012 by whitehouse

      Bo makes a final inspection of the 2012 White House Christmas decorations before 90,000 visitors come through the doors of the People’s House this holiday season. Find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at

    • The 2012 White House Holiday Card

      Lea Prohov December 06, 2012 10:51 AM EST


      The 2012 White House Holiday Card, designed by artist Larassa Kabel.

      The 2012 White House Holiday card has arrived. And this year’s card spotlights the beloved First Family’s dog, Bo.

      The card was designed by Larassa Kabel, a professional artist from Des Moines, Iowa. Ms. Kabel has been creating photorealistic prints, paintings and drawings for the past 8 years and was featured as a solo artist in the Des Moines Art Center’s Iowa Artist Show in 2009, the Iowa Artist 2010 group show and many other solo and group shows in Iowa, Michigan, Texas, Florida and New York. Her work is in several private and corporate collections including Aviva, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the World Food Prize headquarters. She also has a much-loved dog at home, which is why she chose to feature Bo in this year’s White House Holiday card.

      To learn more:

      * Photo Gallery: First Lady Tribute Ornaments
      * Joy to All: First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2012 White House Holiday Decor
      * Bo Inspects the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

    • December 06, 2012

      Remarks by the President at the National Christmas Tree Lighting

      Washington, D.C.

      6:30 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Merry Christmas, everybody! (Applause.) Michelle told me to be brief because she wants to hear music. (Laughter.)

      Thank you, Secretary Salazar, for that generous introduction and for your dedication to protecting our natural resources. I want to thank Neil Mulholland and the whole National Park Foundation and the National Park Service team for helping to put on this beautiful production.

      Let’s give a big hand to Neil Patrick Harris — (applause) — and this evening’s performers for putting on a fantastic show. And I want to also thank all of you for joining us to celebrate this great American tradition.

      As has been mentioned, we’ve been lighting the National Christmas Tree for 90 years now. In times of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, we’ve always come together to rejoice in the Christmas miracle. But our tree has been having a hard time recently — this is our third one in as many years. Our longstanding tree was lost in a storm, and then its replacement didn’t take hold. It just goes to show, nobody’s job is safe here in Washington. (Laughter.) But I feel good about this one. It was planted just days before Hurricane Sandy, and it made it through the storm in one piece.

      Now, we know that some of our neighbors to the north saw a more ruthless and destructive Sandy. And this holiday season is especially difficult for families who lost everything in the storm. But it’s also a time for us to be grateful for the heroism and perseverance of ordinary men and women in the storm’s path who’ve showed us that Americans will always be stronger than the challenges that we face. And as I did before Thanksgiving, I can’t help but tell a story of their enduring holiday spirit.

      This evening, in Midland Beach, New York, on a street lined with houses and businesses devastated by the storm, a great big Christmas tree shines out of the darkness. Just a couple of weeks ago, as impacted families were still seeking some sense of getting back to normal, one local nursery donated the tree, another chipped in for the lights and a star, and 70-year-old Tom Killeen and his longtime buddies from the area planted it at the end of the street, overlooking the town beach. As Tom says, the tree has one message: “It’s Christmas time, not disaster time.”

      And Tom is right. For centuries, the message of Christmas — of peace and goodwill to all — has guided millions of people around the world through good times but also through bad times. This year is no different. It’s a chance for all of us to open our hearts to the least fortunate among us. It’s a chance to remember what Christ taught us — that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive, and that the simplest gifts bring the greatest joy. And it’s a chance to count our blessings and give thanks to those outstanding service members who bravely defend them.

      For Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, may this holiday season remind us of the spirit of brotherhood and generosity that unites us as citizens. And may every tree from Midland Beach to this Ellipse and all across the country shine as a beacon of hope for all Americans.

      So on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Grandma and Bo, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

      God bless you, and God bless America. (Applause.)

      For more:

    • December 14, 2012

      Remarks by the First Lady at Children’s National Medical Center

      Children’s National Medical Center
      Washington, D.C.

      2:59 P.M. EST

      Q What are you getting for the President for Christmas?

      MRS. OBAMA: Oh. Well, I can’t tell. Look, they’re going to print it in the papers tomorrow. (Laughter.) What do you think I should get him? Give me some ideas.

      Q I don’t know.

      MRS. OBAMA: Anybody have ideas? What?

      Q An iPad.

      MRS. OBAMA: An iPad. He has one. (Laughter.)

      Q iPad mini?

      MRS. OBAMA: An iPad mini. (Laughter.) All right. Thank you for that. All right, we’ll see. It will be something nice.

      Q A TV?

      MRS. OBAMA: No TV. A.J. had a question. A.J. is looking for the mic. There you go, go get the mic, A.J.

      Q My name is A.J. (Laughter.) And I want everything. (Laughter.)

      MRS. OBAMA: Yes. You got that? Everything. Thank you, sir. Here, come sit down.

      Q My name is Yasmine.

      MRS. OBAMA: Hi, sweeties. Oh, my goodness.

      Q What do you do on Christmas Eve?

      MRS. OBAMA: What do we do on Christmas Eve? That is a very good question. Sometimes we watch a movie together, we’ll have a nice dinner, and then we go to bed kind of early because we’ve got to be in bed in time for Santa to get there. So Malia and Sasha try to get to bed early so that Santa can come.

      Q Does Bo go to bed early in the morning?

      MRS. OBAMA: The question is, does Bo go to bed early in the morning. He does. He actually gets pretty tired early. He’s usually a lump by about 7:00.

      Q By 7:00!

      MRS. OBAMA: 7:00 is when he’s pretty much run out of energy.

      Q Well, maybe that’s like an (inaudible.)

      MRS. OBAMA: Yes. All right, next question.

      Q Hi. How many chimneys do you have at the White House?

      MRS. OBAMA: Chimneys, this is a good question. I just asked this. We have 54 [26] fireplaces, and 12 chimneys.

      Q Wow.

      MRS. OBAMA: It’s a big house. (Laughter.)

      Q Thank you.

      MRS. OBAMA: So Santa has many, many options at the White House.

      Yes, sir.

      Q Does Santa have to go through Secret Service to visit the White House? (Laughter.)

      MRS. OBAMA: Does he have to go through Secret Service? Well, Santa is probably one of the only people in the world that has his own Secret Service pass. I mean, everybody knows Santa — even the Secret Service. So they give him a pass.

      Q Got it.

      MRS. OBAMA: He’s got the highest security clearance there is.

      Q Okay.

      MRS. OBAMA: Okay.

      Q Do you give Bo a gift for Christmas?

      MRS. OBAMA: I do. Let’s cover his ears. (Laughter.) He’s probably going to get some stuffed toys. He likes the stuffed toys as opposed to the hard toys, because he chewed all of his toys up. So he’s out of toys, and he loves the fluffy toys so I’m going to get him some new fluffy toys.

      For more:

    • Creating the 2012 Gingerbread White House

      Colleen Curtis December 23, 2012 11:01 AM EST

      The 2012 holiday décor at the White House features a 300 pound representation of the President’s’ house made entirely from edible treats. Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and his talented team spent months planning, baking, building and decorating the structure, which is made from more than 175 pounds of gingerbread and modified gingerbread and over 50 pounds of chocolate. Instead of a white chocolate facade as in years past, Chef Yosses used a combination of wheat, rye, and white-flour to create the gingerbread, which perfectly matches the color of the house prior to 1798, when it was first painted white.

      The time lapse video lets you see how Chef Yosses and his team put the whole project together.

  2. Merry Christmas Eve, CR and all friends! I’m gonna bake a mince pie.


    • Holidays at the White House 2012

      Published on Dec 24, 2012

      Go behind the scenes as volunteers decorate the White House for the holidays. See Bo inspect the decorations, the 2012 White House Menorah, holiday ginger crinkles recipe from the White House pastry chef and more at

  3. First lady answers children’s calls for NORAD Santa-tracking program

    12/24/12 08:33 PM ET By Kyle Balluck – TheHill

    First lady Michelle Obama spent about 30 minutes answering calls from children on Monday as part of NORAD’s Santa-tracking program, according to a White House official.

    The Obamas are in Hawaii for their annual Christmas vacation.

    The NORAD program, which began in 1955, attracts millions of visitors to its website from hundreds of countries and territories.

    More than 1,200 volunteers staff an operation center that responds to hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails from around the world.

    Mrs. Obama gave Santa’s latest position on NORAD’s map and answered personal questions from young callers.

    One girl from New Jersey, named Abigail, wanted to know the first lady’s favorite Christmas song.

    “My favorite Christmas song? That’s a good question, Abby. I like ‘Jingle Bells,’ because everybody can sing ‘Jingle Bells,'” the first lady said. “What’s your favorite song?”

    “Silver bells,” Abigail replied.

    For more:

    • December 24, 2012

      Photo & Remarks from the First Lady’s Conversations with Children While Tracking Santa with NORAD

      *** Photo available here: ***

      Via Telephone

      12:04 P.M. HAST

      MRS. OBAMA: Hello?

      CHILD: Hello!

      MRS. OBAMA: Hi, this is Michelle Obama, the First Lady. Who am I talking to?

      JAKE: Jake and Ryan and Kyle Schaack from —

      CHILD: From Rocklin, California.

      MRS. OBAMA: Oh, wow. Are you guys excited that’s it’s Christmas Eve?

      CHILDREN: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: It’s very exciting, isn’t it, huh?

      CHILDREN: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: Well, thanks for calling, because I’m here working and looking — keeping track of where Santa is on satellite. And I know you guys are calling to find out where Santa and his sleigh are right now, aren’t you?

      CHILD: Yes! We’re on the computer right now.

      MRS. OBAMA: Well, do you see that he was last spotted in Chad? And now he’s headed for Libya right now. And they can track his sleigh. He’s moving pretty fast. That’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

      KYLE: He’s going like 100 miles an hour.

      CHILD: Way more than that, Kyle.

      KYLE: Or like 10,000 miles an hour.

      CHILD: Okay, so thanks for talking to us!

      MRS. OBAMA: Okay, thanks for calling. You guys go to sleep soon now so that he’ll come to your house, all right?

      CHILD: Okay.

      MRS. OBAMA: Okay, have a merry Christmas, okay?

      CHILDREN: You, too!

      MRS. OBAMA: Bye!

      CHILDREN: Bye!

      For more:

  4. WH

    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing
    Kailua, Hawaii (the 50th State)

    The First Family celebrate Christmas
    Kailua, Hawaii (the 50th State)

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    Merry Christmas Everyone!
    Mele Kalikimaka Kā kākou!

    Hans Hedemann Surf School Paddles Santa in an Outrigger Canoe in Waikiki

    Uploaded on Jan 24, 2012

    James Donnelly and Serge bring Santa ashore in an outrigger canoe on Christams Eve 2011 in Waikiki for the Halekulani and CNN.

  6. MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS to CR, Kat and all friends. This is a fantastic thread with all of the videos CR; especially Bo sitting in FLOTUS’ lap. He is a real charmer. CR thanks for all you have done this year. You are special.

  7. The best news that I received this Christmas was in a Christmas card from my sister in LA. She is a Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and she said in her letter that she is no longer a Republican (but not a Democrat either) and that she was glad Obama won his re-election and that she could not stand Romney. I hooted up a storm when I read that part.

    So personally know of six former Republicans who still stand behind Pres Obama (my sister and five people in my town).

  8. President meets with Marines; will return to D.C. Wednesday

    POSTED: 04:50 p.m. HST, Dec 25, 2012 By Mary Vorsino – StarAdvertiser

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with Marines this afternoon at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

    The president wished the troops a “Merry Christmas!” and thanked them for their service.

    “On behalf of Michelle and myself and my whole family … we’d like to say thank you for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day,” Obama told the crowd.

    About 450 Marines and their families were gathered in Anderson Hall for a Christmas meal and the visit from the president.

    After addressing the crowd, the president and first lady posed for pictures with attendees. The photos were taken by the White House photographer.

    Meeting with troops on Christmas Day has become a tradition for the Obamas.

    Meanwhile, the White House said the president will return to Washington Wednesday night as lawmakers consider how to prevent the economy from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

    Obama could fly back to the nation’s capital at 10 p.m. Wednesday, just five days after arriving in Hawaii. In the past, the president’s end-of-the-year holiday in his native state has stretched into the new year.

    Automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in January. So far, the president and congressional Republicans have been unable to reach agreement on any alternatives.

    Obama and his family are spending the holiday at a rented home near Honolulu. White House officials have not released the details of the Obamas’ Christmas Day activities.

    • December 25, 2012

      Remarks by the President to Servicemembers and their Families

      Marine Corps Base Hawaii
      Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

      4:17 P.M. HST

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Well, it is wonderful to see all of you. First of all, we want to say Merry Christmas to everybody.

      AUDIENCE: Merry Christmas!

      THE PRESIDENT: This looks like it was a nice rather than naughty crowd –- (laughter) -– so I’m sure Santa treated you well.

      On behalf of Michelle and myself and our whole family — we do this every year. This is where I was born, and so we come back for the holidays. But one of our favorite things is always coming to the base on Christmas Day and having a chance just to meet you, those of you who have families here, and to say thank you for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day.

      Obviously, 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.

      And not only do those in uniform make sacrifices, but I think everybody here understands the sacrifices that families make each and every day as well. And Michelle, working with Dr. Jill Biden, has done a lot of work to focus attention on our military families to make sure that you get the support that you have earned and that you deserve.

      So I’m not going to make a long speech. Obviously, we’re still in a wartime footing. There are still folks, as we speak, who are overseas, especially in Afghanistan, risking their lives each and every day. Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there. Some of you may be about to be deployed there. And so we know that it’s not easy. But what we also want you to know is that you have the entire country behind you, and that all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you guys provide.

      And so we want to say thank you, we love you. And with that, what we’re going to do is we’re going to slip back here. Last couple of years we went from table to table but we kept on missing tables and some folks didn’t get pictures. So this time we’re going to do it in a slightly more organized fashion so that people who want to take a picture, we’re going to be standing right here next to a tree. You guys will be able to come up. You can take your time –- those of you who are still finishing your meals.

      The only thing we’d ask, I think, is when we’re taking the photos — people will get copies of this stuff, so I know everybody these days has a phone all the time. But we have a White House photographer who’s pretty good. (Laughter.) He knows what he’s doing. And we’ll make sure that the photographs come back through the General, through your commanding officer, so that everybody who is here today will be able to get a copy.

      All right, thank you very much, everybody. And have a great New Year as well. Happy New Year! (Applause.)

      4:20 P.M. HST

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