WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama family participated in the annual "Christmas in Washington" charity show Sunday night, a holiday tradition in the nation's capital. The event featured musical performances by the Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Janelle Monae, Pat Monahan and Anna Kendrick, also of "Twilight" movie fame, and proceeds go to the Children's National Medical Center.
In brief remarks the president thanked the performers for "sharing their holiday spirit here with us tonight," and jokingly reminded his daughters that he, too, enjoys presents.
But he quickly reminded the audience there was more to the occasion:
"This is also a time to remember the story of a child born to two faithful travelers on a holy night long ago," he said, musing on the teachings of Christianity, "love the Lord, love our neighbors as we love ourselves; a teaching that has endured for generations and today it lies at the heart of my faith and millions of Americans, and billions around the globe.
"No matter who we are and where we come from, and how we worship, it's a message of hope and devotion that unite all of us this holiday season, compelling all of us to reach out and help our less fortunate citizens: our poor, our help, our neighbors and need, and serve those who've sacrificed so much on our behalf," he said.
Afterwards the first family joined the entertainers on stage in a rendition of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Actor Hugh Jackman hosted the event and retired basketball all-star Charles Barkley also participated in the event, thrown in the National Building Museum.
"Christmas in Washington" will air on TNT network Dec. 20.
Prior to the president's remarks the Obamas spent time with the tonight's "elves": patients from the Children's National Medical Center, each aged 4-5. After the first lady suggested photographers make faces to entertain the children, one elf joined in with his own silly mug for the cameras.
The entertainment for "Christmas in Washington" is not dictated by the White House but it has been customary for presidents to attend the event, now in its third decade.
In 2011 the president shared the stage with Justin Bieber and last year he met South Korean Rapper Psy at the time the musician had recently apologized over an unearthed video of him singing anti-American lyrics in 2004.