President Barack Obama and his family sent warm Christmas and New Year holiday greetings to all Americans Saturday, with a special message of thanks to U.S. troops for their service to the country.
Obama's wife, Michelle, appeared with him in a special holiday edition of the president's weekly address to the nation, recorded at the White House before the Obamas left for a holiday in Hawaii.
The Obamas thanked troops, military families and veterans for their service and urged all Americans to express their gratitude to the armed forces by "giving back" to their communities - through community service.
President Obama said, "Giving of ourselves, service to others - that's what this season is all about. Echoing the religious theme of the holiday, he added: "[Part] of what it means to love God is to love one another. ...But that belief is not just at the center of our Christian faith, it's shared by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds."
In addition to himself and his wife, Obama said he was sending holiday greetings to everyone on behalf of his daughters, Malia and Sasha, "and, of course, Bo" - the family's popular pet dog. Bo is with the Obamas in Hawaii for their vacation, which began Friday.
The president's theme of thanks to the American military crossed partisan political lines in Washington. In the opposition Republican Party's weekly message, Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana, called on Americans to remember "those who stand in harm's way far from home, so we can enjoy this season in peace and freedom."
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.