Michelle Obama photo

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

December 14, 2012

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.


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.

Q: Do you think he just heard that?

MRS. OBAMA: What did he do? Oh, okay. This is another Bo. He doesn't know it's him.

Q: What did you ask Santa for this year?

MRS. OBAMA: You know, I didn't ask Santa for anything yet. You know what I think I want Santa to give? I want Santa to give all the little boys and girls in the world a happy Christmas and good health. That's what I want them to get. (Applause.) Thank you. (Laughter.) Thank you. Thumbs up on that answer.

Yes, sweetie.

Q: What's your favorite holiday tradition?

MRS. OBAMA: My favorite holiday tradition. Well, the one thing that -- a lot of people know that for Christmas -- because the President's family lives in Hawaii -- every Christmas since Malia was born we've spent it in Hawaii with the President's family. And that's a nice holiday tradition for us. We get to spend time together, the girls don't have school, they don't have homework, the weather is nice.

And then one of the things we do for Christmas -- and we did this when I was a little girl -- but because we had a big family and everybody couldn't afford gifts, we did a talent show grab-bag. So everybody would put some gifts into a bag and you had to take a number, and then you had to do some kind of -- anything. You would sing, dance, tell a joke -- anything. So everybody in the family would gather around after dinner and we would entertain each other. And we still do that at Christmas. We have a talent show every year. That's a good tradition.

All right, who else?

Q: What is your favorite Christmas tree in the White House?

MRS. OBAMA: Oh, my favorite Christmas tree in the White House is -- there is -- the biggest tree in the White House is in a room called the Blue Oval Room, and it's the biggest Christmas tree -- it's just under 19 feet. And this year we decorated it -- we call it our Joining Forces tree, because the decorations -- the main decorations on the tree are handmade ornaments from military kids who live in bases all across the world. And there are messages from those kids, a lot of them to their parents who are serving in the military; some of them are to the President. So if you come to the White House, you can look at those ornaments and see the messages. And that's my favorite tree.

Jordan has a question. We'll take this question and then you'll ask the question, okay?

Q: What are you giving your children for Christmas this week?

MRS. OBAMA: I can't say that either. (Laughter.) Look, they'll print it. (Laughter.) But they don't ask for that much. We generally encourage them to limit their asks to Santa to three things each. That's it. It's enough. (Laughter.)

All right, Jordan, you have a question. You want to go get the mic and go ask your question? Oh, there you go.

Get comfortable. (Laughter.)

Q: What's your favorite ornament?

MRS. OBAMA: My favorite ornament? In the whole wide world? I love the shiny balls. I love the -- yes, anything shiny. What about you?

Q: I like shiny.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, how many people like the shiny ornaments? Those are the best ones. (Applause.)

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady at the Children's National Medical Center Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320370

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