DECEMBER 23, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday—This morning we traveled from Hyde Park to New York City. Our cars were filled up with all the paraphernalia which a family requires for travel, but we reached the railroad station very comfortably. The trip to Washington was uneventful, broken only by giving the baby his dinner and getting lunch for ourselves.
Franklin, Jr., and Ethel and their small son arrived a few days ago. While they went off, they left this child the first to arrive in the White House for the holiday season. He settled himself comfortably, and greeted his youngest cousin when we arrived today.
I think this old house likes the sound of children's voices. It is certainly an ideal place for children of every age to play in. At first they are made to feel a little strange, but they soon find the high ceilinged, big rooms no more awe inspiring than the little rooms of my cottage. Everyone in the house is a friend, within twenty-four hours after their arrival.
I am particularly happy to have our far-off Seattle family here this year, and only wish that James and Elliott and their families could be with us. But having three families is doing very well and I feel we should be duly grateful.
Tomorrow will be a busy day for me, but having Christmas Eve fall on Sunday is going to make it possible to do some of the things during the day instead of crowing them all in on Christmas Eve.
At 8:45 tomorrow morning, I shall be at the Capitol Theatre for the Central Union Mission's Christmas party, and at 9:30 at the Wilson Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, for an annual Christmas party for the underprivileged children. Then a short press conference, and at 1:15 I attend the Christmas party given by the Volunteers of America, and at 2:00 o'clock the party given by the Salvation Army. Then I return to the White House for the big tree in the East Room at 3:30, when we greet all of the people who are part of the White House family. At 5:00 o'clock, I go to listen to the singing of Christmas carols at the Christmas tree in two of the alleys of Washington.
These alleys are the slums of Washington and they are gradually disappearing. Some of them are changed into pleasant "courts," or they are gone entirely, but some are still with us and not very far away from the White House itself.
This year, my public duties end at 6:00 o'clock. I still have all day Sunday for the last family preparations, which crowd upon one at Christmas Eve. I am sure many workers are rejoicing in the Saturday, Sunday and Monday holiday granted by the Government, and I join their ranks!