Aside from wishing service members happy holidays through his weekly radio and Internet broadcast on Saturday, the president paid further tribute to troop members for the holidays by making personal phone calls on Christmas Eve, and attending church with them on Christmas Day.
President Barack Obama spent Christmas Eve calling ten service members, two from each branch of service of the military, as revealed by White House aides. The president and his family were also scheduled to pay Marines stationed at a base in Honolulu on Sunday evening.
The president, the first lady, and their two daughters, as well as their dog Bo, arrived in Hawaii Friday evening, to spend the Christmas holidays in the state where he grew up. This has become a holiday tradition for the first family since President Obama assumed office in January 2009, and this was their third Christmas as the first family. The Obamas are staying at a rental home in Kailua for a 10-day vacation, during which time the president generally stays away from the limelight.
On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha tracked Santa Claus’ gift-giving progress through NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which could reportedly track the location of Santa as he delivers gifts around the world. The first lady had shared in a phone conversation with children and parents about NORAD that Santa usually descends into the fireplace at the Yellow Oval Room, so that is where they “put our Santa tree.”
The Obamas opened presents and sang carols on Christmas morning, as well as attended Christmas Day church services at the Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay Chapel.