(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:
– 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.
– 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!"
– 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."
– 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!"