Former President Barack Obama spent Christmas 2017 in Hawaii, where he was joined by both his family and some unexpected guests. After they showed up unannounced at his doorstep, Obama met local Christmas carolers and even joined them in song. The carolers — decked out in Santa hats as well as Pussyhats (a symbol of solidarity with women's rights) — took videos of the 44th president greeting them and joining them in a few lines of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Obama spent his first Christmas since leaving office in Hawaii, where he was born. According to People, the carolers are members of Windward ReSisters, a women’s movement based in Hawaii. When they heard Obama was staying nearby, they decided to sing carol songs outside the home, attempting to serenade him with "Mele Kalikimaka" and "Jingle Bells." Eventually, he came out to meet them, flanked by members of his security detail, and sang along for a few bars.
Upon seeing that some of the women were holding glasses of champagne, he said, "No wonder you’re singing so happy, I didn't realize there was champagne to go with it." Obama also told several of the carolers, "Merry Christmas."
One of the women present at the gathering, Darlene Mandel, shared a video of the president joining her and her friends in song on Twitter, on Christmas Eve.
While president, Obama would often break into song, singing "Purple Rain" during his last Halloween at the White House and "Amazing Grace" at a funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in 2015, during a shooting at a Charleston church. In 2012, he also famously sang Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" during a New York fundraising event.
Since leaving office in January 2017, Obama has spent time traveling the world and enjoying time off. The former president also spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii, where he befriended some locals — even getting behind a sushi bar while dining out one evening.
Obama has occasionally dipped his toe back into the political conversation. In a BBC Radio 4 interview with Prince Harry that aired Wednesday, Obama didn't mention the current U.S. president by name, but did speak of the "dangers of the internet," which can give people "entirely different realities,” adding, “They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.” The former president also recently teamed up with basketball star Steph Curry and Chance the Rapper, in a PSA to promote his program, My Brother's Keeper, which is geared toward boys and young men of color.
Earlier in the month, Obama got into the Christmas spirit in Washington, D.C., with a visit to a local Boys & Girls Club, where he distributed toys to children. He later posted a photo of his appearance, along with the message: "There's no better time than the holiday season to reach out and give back to our communities. Great to hear from young people at the Boys & Girls Club in DC today."
Meanwhile, Donald Trump attempted to take several jabs at his predecessor over the holiday season, claiming he had “led the charge against the assault” against the phrase “Merry Christmas,” despite the fact that Obama has himself said the phrase numerous times. On Dec. 25, Obama tweeted a Christmas greeting and photo from his family: "On behalf of the Obama family, Merry Christmas! We wish you joy and peace this holiday season."
According to reports, Obama was in good spirits on Christmas Eve, joking after one of the carolers accidentally spilled champagne on him. One caroler even told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that she kissed him on the cheek upon meeting him.