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First Family Celebrates Christmas in Hawaii


US President Barack Obama is far from the wintry air of Washington on this Christmas Day. He is celebrating the holiday amidst the surf and sunshine of Hawaii, the state where he was born and spent most of his childhood.

The president is marking Christmas in private with family and friends.

He plans no public appearances during his holiday vacation, but will continue to get updates on events around the world from advisors and staff.

And though he intends to stay largely out of sight over the holiday, he did record a Christmas message that was distributed to radio networks and the Internet.

In it, he focuses on American servicemen and women who are deployed far from home during the holiday season. He says he is awed by their selfless spirit and humbled by their sacrifice and readiness to serve.

"So to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far from home, whether it's at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq, or a remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and in our prayers," he said.

The president says they have his support, adding he is proud to be their commander-in-chief.

"And this holiday season - and every holiday season - know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families," he added.

In his weekly address, the president also calls on all Americans to do what they can to show their gratitude to the troops. First lady Michelle Obama also made an appeal for support on behalf of military families, saying they can use extra help, especially during the holidays.