"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt
December 25, 1936
WASHINGTON—Yesterday afternoon James and Betsey and their two children arrived and the children settled down on the third floor where we really are running a little household with a kitchen of its own. Luckily most of them eat at the same time and it is very amusing to go up at noon into the sun parlor and see the babies in their carriages and the older ones sitting at the table with their nurses, each one trying to show how proficient they are in table manners.
Sistie and Buzzie informed me this morning that they had been down by the Christmas tree and had examined every package but could not decide what was in them, which was fortunate considering that most of the joy of Christmas is its surprises, in spite of Mr. Heywood Broun who says that a Santa Claus who brought him things which he had not requested was extremely unpopular in his youth. I will agree that expressed desires, if possible, should be met, but it is fun to have some unexpected joy as well!
We celebrated James' birthday last night but I think being so nearly a Christmas child is rather hard for one never gets as much attention.
This has been a busy day filled with official activities for the most part. Starting off at nine-thirty with the distribution of Christmas presents by the Central Union Mission of Washington, D. C. at the Capitol Theatre. At eleven o'clock as much of the family as I could corral were in my husband's office to help him wish the entire office force and the Secret Service men attached to him, a Merry Christmas and bid them good-bye for their brief holiday. A glass of milk for lunch and at one-thirty I spent a short time with the Volunteers of America at their Christmas party and then proceeded to the Salvation Army headquarters for their celebration.
I left there at three in order to be ready at three-thirty for our Christmas tree party at the White House which includes the guards, the people who work in the grounds, the chauffeurs and our house people with all their families. These families seem to grow and I think we have in neighborhood of a hundred children now.
At five o'clock all of us got into our hats and coats including such grandchildren as are old enough and drove over to the middle of Lafayette Square where my husband lights the Community Christmas Tree and sends his Christmas message out by radio to the nation. From there the rest of the family went home, but as I told you yesterday I went to two more trees in Washington alleys. Bright spots in dingy surroundings!
Luckily the President finished reading Dickens' Christmas Carol last night. He has to cut it or the younger members of the family would get weary listening, but I am glad that even in this abbreviated form a record was made this year. I reached home in time for a quiet dinner with the family.
Copyright, 1936, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.