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Politics: Biden, first lady make Christmas Eve visit to Children's National Hospital

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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Friday made a Christmas Eve visit to the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., where the first couple met with and read a story to hospitalized children and their families.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit Children's National Hospital © Associated Press President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit Children's National Hospital

It is an annual tradition for the first lady to visit the hospital for the holidays, but Friday was the first time the sitting president has taken part in the holiday tradition at the hospital, according to the White House.

The Bidens arrived at the hospital just after 11 a.m. EST and visited with children in the hospital atrium who were making lanterns as a winter crafts project.

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"You're bringing us some joy," the president told the kids in the room.

The first couple then sat in front of a Christmas tree in the room to read "Olaf's Night Before Christmas" to a group of children.

The first lady read the book aloud, which was streamed to the rooms of pediatric patients in the hospital who were not in the atrium.

The hospital administrator thanked the Bidens for visiting the facility, noting the significance of the president's appearance at the annual gathering.

"We've never had a president come with the first lady on Christmas Eve," the administrator said.

According to the White House, the tradition of first ladies visiting with children and parents at the children's hospital dates back to the Truman administration. The hospital does not have a record of a sitting president making a holiday visit, but former President Obama did make an appearance at the facility after he had departed office in December 2018.

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The hospital visit is part of Biden's first Christmas in the White House. The first lady unveiled the White House holiday decor last month, in addition to the theme, "Gifts from the Heart."

The first family will spend the Christmas holiday at the White House this year, which is a departure from their tradition of celebrating in Wilmington, Del., according to CBS News.

The first couple, their children and grandchildren will reportedly visit a church in Washington for Mass on Friday, then return to the White House executive mansion to celebrate with a pasta dinner and a sleepover, both of which are family traditions for the holiday.

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