Obama dresses as Santa to hand out gifts to children at hospital
The former president suited up in Santa Claus attire and merrily sang Christmas carols with hundreds of doctors, nurses, hospital workers, parents and children during the much-anticipated visit.
Obama was greeted by happy hospital staff and others as he arrived in a red hat and belted out lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
The starstruck crowd cheered and shouted in excitement as they exchanged holiday greetings with him.
Obama shared a humbling message to the crowd:
‘I just want to say thank you to all of you guys, we had a chance to talk to some of the wonderful kids and their families.
‘At a time that obviously is tough for folks, as a dad of two girls, you know, I can only imagine.
‘In that situation, to have nurses and staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them and just there for them, and holding their hand… that’s the most important thing there is.’
He said further:
‘What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be about.’
Obama was pictured as he hand-delivered gifts to others – including a girl wearing a nasendoscope and smiling little boys.
He later took to Twitter to write:
‘Merry Christmas and happy holidays to the extraordinary kids, families, and staff at Children’s National. And thanks for humoring me as your stand-in Santa.’
Kurt Newman, chief executive and president of Children’s National Health System, told the Washington Post the kids ‘will be talking about [the visit] for years to come.’
‘At such a busy time of year, when no one wants to be in the hospital, his natural warmth lifted the spirits of those kids, their parents and of each staff member he met along the way.’