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December 6th, 2012
04:42 PM ET

Letters to the President #1417: 'A Christmas scene'

Reporter's Note: President Obama and his family lit the National Christmas Tree this evening.

Dear Mr. President,

I must say that you and your family looked very happy throwing the switch to light the tree by the White House tonight. There are many unpleasant and weighty duties that come with the presidency. It is nice to see you enjoying some of the nicer moments as well.

Which remind me of something wonderful that happened in my own life last evening. My wife and I have been, as we often are, scrambling to prepare for all that the holidays will bring. We’ve been scrambling to put up decorations, shop for gifts, share some nice moments with the daughter we still have at home and some by phone with our daughter who is at college. At any moment it can be quite wearing, as I am sure you know. On top of which my work load has been absolutely massive lately as I try to deal with several end-of-the-year projects.

So it was no surprise last night that it was about 9:30 before I drove up to our house, and that my wife was still out running errands. I wandered inside to say hi to our younger girl and our dog, and collapse on the sofa for a few moments. I was so tired I could not see straight, and yet I was aware of how much work was still looming before me. Then I heard a noise in the driveway.

I walked to the front door and there was my wife emerging from the car carrying a huge wreath of fresh evergreens with gold ornaments and a big bow on it. Even in the dim light I could see that she was beaming. She came up the stairs holding her prize before her, telling me excitedly how she’d found it at a roadside stand operated by some guy named Pablo, and how nice he was, and how nicely priced it was, and how it would fit perfectly over the mantel…and suddenly, it was Christmas. There is just no other way to describe it. Her infectious joy, lovely smile, sparkling eyes, and overwhelming enthusiasm absolutely made the season for me.

Tell me there will be no tree, no gifts, no quiet moments in church, or rowdy moments around the dining table; no softly falling snow, twinkling lights or seasonal music; no mistletoe or candles; no stockings by the chimney. I won’t care. I’ve known Christmases with all the trimmings and more that could not compare to watching her walk into the house spreading the spirit of the season with every step…happiness, giving, kindness, beauty, love, and faith.

I hope you, and indeed every American, can enjoy just such a moment this holiday season…no matter what faith anyone may follow.

As for me…come what may, I am content.

Regards,
Tom

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