Historic Presentations  ›  My Day: Eleanor Roosevelt Chronicles Life and Work in the White House


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"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt

December 26, 1939


WASHINGTON, Monday—Saturday was really a hectic day for me, ending up with a few minutes broadcast right in the middle of dinner, but everyone else went gaily on eating and I was back before the next course was served. Since it was Jimmy's birthday, we all drank his health and sent him a round-robin telegram. We tried very hard at dinner to make the President enter into a real old-fashioned, family argument, but he said the Christmas spirit was upon him and he was not going to argue with anyone!

Sunday was divided between church in the morning, where we were reminded that, though it might be Christmas Eve, still the fourth Sunday in Advent was what the Church was celebrating, and we could not expect to sing only Christmas carols. I have to own that the grandchildren and I felt much more like Christmas carols!

After lunch, we dressed the family Christmas tree. Anna and John had taken their ride in the morning, but Major Hooker and I managed to have a short ride in the afternoon. Then all the family attended the lighting of the municipal tree at 5:00 o'clock and listened to the President's Christmas message.



Four generations of the Roosevelt family in front of the East Room Christmas Tree.
Library of Congress

I like very much the letters which the President has written to the heads of the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish Churches. It is, of course, but a gesture, still it keeps before us the fact that all churches continue together to wield a spiritual force in the world and that they have the power to exert an influence over the material forces about us.

The President did not have the time to read the whole of Dickens' Christmas Carol, so he and Sisty decided which parts should be read this year. They chose first the trips made by the ghosts to the Christmas scene in the mine, on the sea and in the lighthouse. Then there was a difference of opinion whether the Fezziwigs ball or the Christmas Party at Scrooge's nephews should be read, but there was a unanimous demand for the last scene, for one and all wanted to hear Tiny Tim's blessing.

Christmas morning began early today with the children racing around to tell everybody that it was time to wake their grandfather and to find out whether the stockings hanging on his mantelpiece had been filled during the night.

I had a rather late breakfast interspersed with telephone conversations, and then went to the Community Church service. After lunch, the tree and the opening of presents took place. It is most unusual for me to go out on Christmas afternoon, but former Secretary and Mrs. Daniel Roper celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and at 5:00 I dropped in there for a brief visit. Now I am back to prepare for the Christmas dinner, which this year is really a grand gathering of the family as well as friends.

E.R.

Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


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Eleanor Roosevelt. White House Collection



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