A holiday tradition: First lady visits children's hospital
December 16th, 2013
09:41 PM ET
9 months ago

A holiday tradition: First lady visits children's hospital

(CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama brought holiday cheer to young patients at Children's National Medical Center in Washington on Monday - a tradition that dates back 60 years with first lady Bess Truman.

"This is one of my favorite traditions ... coming to see you guys at the hospital," she told a group of children, staff members and families that had gathered to see her.

After a tour through the medical care unit, Obama sat down to read "A Visit From St. Nicholas" ('Twas the night before Christmas ...) to the group.

Then she did something she rarely does. She held a question-and-answer session, except questions were not taken from the gathered press. Nope. All questions came from the children.

"I don't take questions from the press," she told the kids. "I only take questions from you guys once a year."
In all, she answered 14 questions. Here are a few things we learned thanks to inquiring kids:

Christmas gifts

– The Prez is getting new workout clothes for Christmas - supposedly something he wanted.
"There's going to be some joke about how I'm strapping him to the treadmill. No!" she said. "He likes to work out!"
- Sasha and Malia are getting "stuff" and "small things."
"Malia wanted a cell phone, but then her father got it for her, and I was like 'you messed up!' That should've been a Christmas gift."
- First dogs Sunny and Bo are getting chew toys. "Lots of the hard ones because they chew their toys up," she said.

Favorites

– Favorite holiday song: "The Christmas Song." She even belted out a few notes before remembering the news media was there with cameras rolling!
- Favorite Christmas treat: Pumpkin pie. She added that Barack Obama enjoys pumpkin pie as well. "That's for sure his favorite treat," she said.

Lots and lots of trees!

– There are 44 Christmas trees throughout the White House. Volunteers come and help them decorate, leaving a half of a large tree for the first family to finish up in the yellow oval room.
"This year, I have to say, the President actually put most of the ornaments on the tree," she said. "He and Sasha did most of the work - and me and Malia, we drank a lot of hot chocolate!"

Christmas traditions

– Favorite Christmas tradition as a kid: "Getting toys on Christmas Day."
Her favorite toys were Barbie dolls. "I had everything Barbie," she said. "I had the townhouse and the car and all the little outfits, and the shoes that never stayed on their feet."
- Current family tradition: "We go to Hawaii, where the President grew up. We hang our stockings in the house that we stay in."

Snow!

– First dog Bo loves the snow. Sunny hasn't seen any snow action yet.
As for the first lady, she doesn't love the snow so much. "Now that I'm older, I prefer Christmas without snow," she told the kids. "When you're older, snow is a hassle. You've got to shovel it."

The big 5-0!

– Speaking of getting older, Michelle Obama celebrates her 50th in January.
"50 and fabulous!" she exclaimed. "I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, but it might involve some dancing ... a little Dougie!"


Filed under: Health care • Michelle Obama • White House
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Thank you, First Lady, for being a wonderful, generous and inspiring woman all year round! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

    December 17, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  2. ladies first

    wonderful of michelle to see that the holiday spirit can uplift many people in many different ways that will inpact peoples lives for years to come

    December 17, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    What war on Christmas right wingers?

    December 17, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Now that I'm older, I prefer Christmas without snow," she told the kids
    -------------------------------------------------
    Our Christmas "tradition" for the past 30 odd years is that Christmas is for kids.
    Kids in our family make out like bandits on Christmas Day, and you remain a "kid" until you get your first real job.
    Adults get one gift via a secret Santa.
    My X-mas wish every year, therefore, has been for snow, lots of it on X-mas Eve or Christmas Day.
    Love the white stuff, the more the better, and I don't mind shovelling it either.
    Christmas just feels and looks more like Christmas when it is blanketed in snow.

    December 17, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. Darlene

    She is a class act. One of the best first-ladies EVER!

    December 17, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    – Favorite Christmas treat: Pumpkin pie. She added that Barack Obama enjoys pumpkin pie as well. "That's for sure his favorite treat," she said.
    --------------------
    Nah, I don't like pumpkin pie. Ditto for sweet potato. Folks say I do mean job cooking them, though. I figure it like this, the worst it tastes to me, the better it tastes to everyone else. My favorite pie that I make. A pecan pie with raisins and chopped apricots. It's sort of a much simpler to make mincemeat pie.

    December 17, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Love my First Lady. Classy and bright.
    Bo looks adorable at her feet, doesn't he?!

    December 17, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama"

    "Love the white stuff, the more the better, and I don't mind shovelling it either."

    Oh, dear. Snow. Lovely stuff. But ...

    December 17, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    I figure it like this, the worst it tastes to me, the better it tastes to everyone else. My favorite pie that I make. A pecan pie with raisins and chopped apricots
    -------------------------------------------------
    My friend Rudy: Smart, funny, AND can cook to boot!!
    You go babe!!
    I can't bake an anything to save my life!

    December 17, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Peppy

    Shes probably there trying to sell oblunder care. Since Oblameo won biggest liar of the year shes on damage control,,,again.

    December 17, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda MInnesota
    Oh, dear. Snow. Lovely stuff. But ...
    -------------------------------------------------
    I know, I know...Minnesota. Say no more girlfriend!
    I guess if I lived up there I might have a change of heart...? Naah!!
    Lol!

    December 17, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Her favorite toys were Barbie dolls. "I had everything Barbie," she said. "I had the townhouse and the car and all the little outfits, and the shoes that never stayed on their feet."

    Now this brings back memories! My daughters loved Barbie (and because my first Barbie ended up hanging by her neck from a rafter in my childhood basement ... my brother received his first BB gun the year I received my first Barbie ... thus she became his "target") I was excited my daughters wouldn't be as traumatized over Barbie as I had been. We also had an aquarium back then. I could never understand why the fish never lived past a few weeks. Until the time I went to feed them before I left for work. Well, to make a long story short ... Barbie and Ken had their own tropical ocean. And fishing rods. With safety pins hooked up to pencils. Between scuba diving Barbie and fishing Ken, our poor fish never stood a chance.

    Ah, yes. The Barbie and Ken stories ... are priceless in my family.

    December 17, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Wow...only one (Peppy) snarky comment so far...the haters are slipping I think....

    December 17, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. yolanda

    @Al-NY,NY.....maybe "the haters" are showing a bit of class and appreciating the article for what it is, unlike you, who has to make it political. Try getting in the holiday spirit. You might just like how it feels. Merry Christmas.

    December 17, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama

    "I know, I know...Minnesota. Say no more girlfriend!"

    As a child I LOVED the snow. My brothers and I made some very remarkable snow castles (including snow furniture and rooms). A few of our best creations lasted well into May. Sledding and tobogganing and ice skating; we loved all things winter.

    Now, though? Thank goodness for snow blowers.

    December 17, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    DM4O

    My friend Rudy: Smart, funny, AND can cook to boot!!
    You go babe!!
    I can't bake an anything to save my life!
    -----------------------–
    Now if only I could type just half as well as I can cook. Actually, typing is a problem for me. Leave it at that.

    December 17, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Al-NY,NY

    Wow...only one (Peppy) snarky comment so far...the haters are slipping I think....
    -------------------------------------------------
    They're still asleep in their beds I think. Wink!

    @ Lynda MInnesota
    Barbie and Ken had their own tropical ocean. And fishing rods. With safety pins hooked up to pencils. Between scuba diving Barbie and fishing Ken, our poor fish never stood a chance.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Hilarious Lynda!!!
    I remember having a self-made Barbie encampment/housing complex of sorts in a corner of my mother's living room.
    I didn't have a Ken doll, however.
    Women ruled!

    December 17, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    Actually, typing is a problem for me. Leave it at that
    -------------------------------------------------
    I remember you making mention of that in a post to Fair once, if I'm not mistaken.
    No worries my friend, you get your points across loud and clear with facts to support them, and from what I have observed your typing is above par.
    I on the other hand have no excuse.

    December 17, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Living near the shore of Lake Ontario, its a given we have snow. I broke out my XC skis over the weekend, and enjoyed the peace and serenity of being out on a trail, enjoying the beauty of nature and marveling at the fact I can still ski reasonably well. Also, I'm currently locked in a Clark Griswold-style competition with my neighbors which may result in planes buzzing my neighborhood.

    December 17, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |