Happy Holidays from the Obamas

Kagan McLeod for The Washington Post

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s that time of year again, and what a year it’s been!

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For our family, 2011 was full of milestones. I reached a big one for myself and the nation in May when I got Osama bin Laden. Got to cross that one off the ol’ bucket list! I could just stop this holiday letter right here, actually. Sure, the kids did some cool things and grew a lot. But let’s get real. I got Osama. I jumped out of the helicopter, tackled him with my bare hands and yelled, “Barack Obama doesn’t compromise!” Figuratively speaking. Can’t top that.

Hmm, what else happened?

Michelle is still on quite the health kick. This led to a bit of an incident at a block party where she showed up with broccoli instead of dessert and tried to get everyone to join her in jumping jacks. “Your kids should work out more!” she said. Some took this to mean that she was calling everyone’s kids overweight, which didn’t go over well. But hey, live and learn.

Malia and Sasha also got a little fed up with the all-vegetables-all-the-time rule. This summer, they started to rebel. “Eat your peas,” Michelle told them.

The girls didn’t want to eat their peas. They got so mad about it that our family life ground to a halt. All summer long, we fought. “You need to eat your peas,” I told them.

“Don’t want to,” they said. “We need a later bedtime and a higher allowance.”

“We aren’t made of money,” I told them. “Why don’t you go out and raise revenue on your own if you need more cash?”

They muttered something about “making a promise to Grover” that I’m still trying to puzzle out. Must be a Sesame Street thing.

Eventually Michelle and I gave them what they wanted, but only after they spent an entire month throwing tantrums and refusing to do any of their summer reading.

One of Sasha’s teachers called and told me she’d been downgraded from a straight AAA student to a straight AA student.

Malia is doing well, but she’s having trouble picking a date for the big holiday dance. Middle school can be so awkward! Michelle and I definitely thought she’d wind up going with a nice Mormon boy who’s been asking her for months. Then for a while it looked like she was going with a boy from Texas, but he kept running out of conversation at critical moments. Lately we’ve been getting a lot of calls from a plump, wonkish fellow who keeps giving her “Greatest Hits of the ’90s” CDs. Who even listens to CDs any longer?

Oh, did I mention that I got Osama bin Laden? I’m not sure I mentioned that. Well, if I didn’t, you should know: I got Osama.

Sasha is at the age where she enjoys having friends over for sleepovers. This would be fine if the people she invited would go home, but right now there’s a whole group of them in tents on the landing. They’ve been there about three months. The Secret Service guys keep nonchalantly spraying them with finely ground black pepper, but it hasn’t had much effect.

We asked them to leave. I did what I usually do, which is tell them about the time I got Osama.

“Look, kids,” I said, “what’s the trouble?”

Michelle had just baked some delicious fat-free cookies. As we sat there eating them, Sasha’s friends said that 1 percent of the people had 99 percent of the cookies.

I tried to explain that we had the cookies because we made the cookies, but then our good friend Warren Buffett came by with some freshly baked snickerdoodles. He started redistributing them and talking about the tax code, and everyone stopped paying attention to me. Warren gets it. I just hope the kids stay camped out long enough for me to convince them to vote for me.

We’ve also taken some time this year to help out where we can. This spring, some acquaintances of ours decided they had to evict a longtime roommate. He had become impossible to live with. He dressed like a drunken wizard and kept strolling in when they had guests, wearing peculiar hats and demanding to be included in international summits. He wouldn’t go, even when all the housemates got together and asked nicely, with shoulder-mounted grenade launchers.

Helping them turned out to be harder than it looked. But we tried. At least, whenever they said they’d chased him somewhere, we “liked” their Facebook status. (This is also what we did for some other friends who had a similar problem. Social media! I love it!)

Bo is still doing fine. Though in the spring, this strange guy Donald at the dog park — who looked like he had a ham loaf for hair — accused him of not being from America, since he’s a Portuguese water dog. “Shouldn’t he be called an American water dog?” people started to ask. “What are you hiding?” Finally we got a certificate from the breeder, but even that didn’t satisfy Donald.

What else happened this year? It’s all been a bit of a blur. Did I tell you I got Osama? With my bare hands. Before he passed, he whispered, “If people don’t reelect you, I will come back and haunt their homes.” I think about that a lot.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

(I’ve been told I should say “Merry Christmas,” not “Happy Holidays,” but I can’t because I’m waging war on Christmas. Kidding! I can’t because I’m Muslim! Kidding again. I can! Merry Christmas.)

Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo

Written by The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri , author of the ComPost blog and a Post editorial page contributor.

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