Obama's 2016 Holiday Card Wouldn't Have Been Possible Without Justin Trudeau

While many of us are still scrambling to finish our holiday shopping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have been inadvertently way ahead of the game, at least when it comes to bestowing a little Christmas joy on his southern neighbors. According to White House staff members, Obama's Christmas card wouldn't have been possible without Trudeau.

Although Trudeau didn't exactly snap the picture himself, it's safe to say it wouldn't have happened without him. Pete Souza, the chief official White House photographer for President Barack Obama, snapped the photo March 10 just before the Obamas hosted a White House State Dinner as part of Trudeau's official visit. It was the first time a Canadian prime minister had made an official visit to the White House in nearly 20 years. But it wasn't simply Trudeau's visit that led to the photograph, it was Trudeau himself.

Here's how Souza explained the story behind the family portrait the Obama family chose to grace the cover of this year's card in an Instagram post.

Earlier this year we hosted the Canadian Prime Minister for a formal State Dinner. Malia and Sasha attended as guests. Before the dinner, I did a family photo in the White House residence. But later, when the Trudeaus arrived, the two families spent some time on the Truman Balcony with their respective delegations. At one point, the Prime Minister asked if we could do a photo of he and his wife with the Obama family. Click, click, click. Then, he said I should do a photo of just the Obama's. I could have said, "sir we already did one before you arrived." But instead, I clicked off a few quick frames. And lo and behold, it was this picture that Justin Trudeau asked me to take which everyone loved as the choice for the 2016 White House holiday card.

In featuring a portrait of the Obamas, this year's White House holiday card is a delightful break in tradition (although Bo, the family dog, is certainly missed). Past holiday cards from the Obama family have featured paintings, elegant twists on the presidential emblem, and scenic photos of the White House. At least five of the Obamas' official White House holiday cards have featured Bo in some way.

The message inside the First Family's 2016 holiday card touches briefly on the fact President Obama's final term is winding down. "As our family reflects on our many happy years spent in the White House, we are grateful for the friends we’ve made, the joy we’ve shared, and the gifts of kindness we've received," the card reads. "We wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year."