DECEMBER 26, 1944
WASHINGTON, Monday—On Friday, in the evening, I shared a Christmas party with some very dear friends of mine. On Christmas Eve the usual ceremonies were held around the municipal tree in the White House grounds, and at 5:15 the President broadcast his message to the country and to the armed forces all over the world.
That evening—Christmas Eve—the President, as is his custom, read selections from Dickens' "Christmas Carol." He usually begins before the little children go to bed and then, after dinner, he reads a little more to the older ones. In our many years of Christmas celebrations, I can remember only one when I tried to substitute for my husband, and my reading was nowhere as effective as his. I think he has heard it read so many years at Groton by the rector's father, who apparently read it exceptionally well, that he has developed a way of reading different scenes in it which makes it understandable to the youngest child.
Christmas Day was entirely a family day with us. Breakfast was late as always, because the children gather in the President's room to open their stockings first, and that always takes a long time. All the dogs have to be considered as well, and they can make a great deal of confusion when they acquire new toys and are trying to get some child to play with them.
After the small children had their naps and it became somewhat dark, we had the lighting of the Christmas tree and the presents for the children, who then went to bed a very exhausted group. We found ourselves getting ready for Christmas dinner with a certain amount of weariness, but with the sense of a day well spent, so that the elders could relax and enjoy the traditional Christmas feast.
We have again this year received many, many Christmas cards from people all over this country and from the men overseas. Sometimes whole groups of men send in a card together, sometimes the individual boys send one. I try to send a word of thanks to each one for the overseas cards, but it is impossible to do this also for all those that come from people in this country. We are nonetheless deeply grateful for the kind thoughts which prompted the sending of these words of cheer and affection at this season. I take this way of thanking our friends throughout the nation and in many other countries, hoping that it will reach a great many people.
Today our thoughts have been with those who are absent from our firesides, and since this is the case with almost every family in this country, I close this column with the wish that will be echoed this day in many hearts—God bless our absent ones.