Remarks by the First Lady at the 75th Anniversary Toys for Tots Event in Arlington, Virginia

December 12, 2022

THE FIRST LADY: Thank you. Thank you very much. And -- and thank you to your family as well. And thank you for your service.

And I'm so happy to be with some great friends today, who also happen to be the spouses of our senior Department of Defense and service leaders, and I want to thank them for helping -- for coming to help out.

So, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

I'm sorry, I have laryngitis. (Laughs.)

So, how many of you know this book?

(Holds up "How the Grinch Stole Christmas.")

Oh, everybody. Wow. Okay. (Laughs.) I love this book. And, as a matter of fact, I might have -- I might have dressed up as the Grinch for a White House event when I was Second Lady.

But -- and you probably know the whole story of the Grinch, but I'd like to read you one of my favorite parts.

Okay, actually, is there someone who would want to come up and read the one page? So -- are you a good reader? Yeah? You come on up.

That way I -- here, we'll give him the apple box.

Okay. Just this page.

(A child reads a page from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas.")

Thank you. (Applause.) You did a great job. What's your name?

CHILD: Adam.

THE FIRST LADY: Adam. Thank you, Adam. (Applause.) Wow. (Laughs.) You did a great job.

So, if there's one group of kids who understands that the holiday- -- what the holidays are about more than what's under the tree, it's you -- all of you -- our military children.

And you understand that gifts that mean the most can't be the ones held in our hands. You need a friend or time with the people you love, or the chance to serve your community and your country with honor and pride. Those things can't be bought. They're only given with our hearts.

So, military kids like you give our country so much. You support your parents through moves and deployments. And you sometimes help take care of the family members who came home with, maybe, illnesses or injuries. And you help out neighbors when they need it, just like you're going to do today.

Now, I bet a lot of you put up trees and lights at your home already. How many have you -- have done that? 

Most of you. Wow.

Well, at the White House, we do the same thing. But how many trees do you think we have?

Wait, wait -- how many do you think?

CHILD: One hundred and fifty?

THE FIRST LADY: One hundred and fifty? That's close.

Okay, how about you?

CHILD: I think maybe, like, close to 65-ish.

THE FIRST LADY: Oh, close! Wow. You?

CHILD: One hundred and six.

THE FIRST LADY: One hundred and six. Well, you're all pretty close, because we have 77 trees in the White House. And I hope you all come and take a tour and visit. And we have millions of lights.

And we have one very special room called "We the Children." And it's decorated to honor kids just like you, with drawings and reflections of the magic that, really, children, like all of you, bring to our holidays.  

And you remind us that even though we have a lot of challenges ahead, our future is full of promise because you are going to lead it.


Just like the Grinch himself, seeing all of you here, eagl- -- eager to make someone else's holiday a little more special, it's enough to make my heart grow three sizes as well. 

So, thank you to Toys for Tots for bringing us all together. So, Merry Christmas, and may you receive as much love this holiday as you give.

And now, it's my honor and my pleasure to introduce our next speaker, Samara Donahue. And in addition to supporting her parents through deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, she has plans to follow in Joe's footsteps and become President of the United States. (Applause.) I can't wait to vote for you. 

And she has to finish -- she just has to finish school first -- (laughter) -- and wait about 25 years until she's eligible.

So, anyway, we are all rooting for you. So, come on up, and you can talk to everybody. (Applause.)

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at the 75th Anniversary Toys for Tots Event in Arlington, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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