Every busy parent knows that a spouse is the toughest person for whom to buy holiday gifts. There’s lots of pressure to get something thoughtful but not much time to sit down and exchange lists and ideas.
That goes triple if you’re the First Couple of the United States. But President Obama is fortunate – first lady Michelle O. managed to work a few hints about presents into a Monday Q & A with kids at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.
Mrs. Obama had just finished reading “The Night Before Christmas” in front of a small crowd of young children. Santa was there, in costume. So were First Dogs Bo and Sunny. They were not in costume, thankfully.
The kids were a bit restless. Mrs. O had already explained that the house in which not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, was not the White House. It was ... just a normal house in a story. She’d also dealt with one child who asked for a cat for Christmas.
“Okay, mom, dad, did you hear that?” said the first lady.
Then another child asked her what she wanted for Christmas. This seemed to take her back a bit. Apparently she has not been ripping pages out of Boden catalogs and leaving them lying around the Cabinet room with appropriate items marked.
“I don’t really have a long wish list for Christmas, because I pretty much have everything I need,” said Obama. “Moms and dads, we’re not that big on Christmas. I just want everybody to be happy, and I want to sleep in.”
Then another question lit a spark. Asked if she had any Christmas pajamas, she said no, she didn’t.
“Maybe that’s what I should put on my Christmas list. OK, Mr. President, if you’re watching, I think we could use some Christmas pajamas,” she said.
Here’s the question: Should President Obama go for this idea? Or, in the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar of "Star Wars," is it “a trap”?
The PJ thing has two things going against it. One, it’s utilitarian. That can be dangerous for a husband. Two, it involves clothing. President Obama is not good about picking out clothing for his wife to wear. He said that himself on “Live with Ryan Seacrest” Monday.
“Michelle’s hard to shop for,” he admitted. “She’s very fashionable, and she looks good. I’m worried about buying her clothes.”
When he buys her duds, she says thanks. Then he never sees her actually wearing them, apparently. They’re stuffed in a closet somewhere with old Christmas lights and the (mythical) lost Iranian nuclear deal.
Frankly, we’re worried he’d buy her something with footies or light-up Rudolph noses. Perhaps the president should stick to books – he’s already shopped at local bookseller Politics and Prose. Or gift cards. They’re safe.
Just don’t follow the example of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who gave perhaps the worst presidential Christmas gift ever. Visiting the Vatican on Dec. 23, 1967, LBJ gave Pope Paul VI a bronze bust of himself. Looking very Texan.
The pope gave him a 15th century oil painting of the Nativity. Talk about a gift-giving imbalance.