In a video posted to Twitter Friday, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill expressed holiday wishes to Americans, noting that the coronavirus pandemic had made this Christmas a sad one for many families.
"Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Jill and I wish you and your family peace, joy, health and happiness this season," Joe, 78, said in the video. "But we know for so many of you in our nation this has been a very difficult year … Many of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, pay their rent or mortgage."
Jill, 69, continued: "Many families are facing their first Christmas having lost a loved one. And Joe and I know that sorrow."
The couple went on to note their gratitude for military members, healthcare workers and others on the frontlines of the pandemic, while a montage showed nurses caring for sick patients as well as Joe receiving his COVID-19 vaccine.
The Bidens noted that their holiday dinner this year would be a smaller celebration.
"For the Bidens, we usually have 20 to 25 people over Christmas Eve for dinner, but not this year," Joe said. "We're going to miss our family but it's what we need to do to keep our family safe."
Jill noted that, while 2020 celebrations are "dimmed" due to the pandemic, "brighter days are coming soon."
The soon-to-be president and first lady are spending Christmas in Delaware before heading to the White House in January.
The couple spoke about their annual holiday traditions in a recent joint interview on The Late Show, with Jill telling host Stephen Colbert her husband is "crazy about his Christmas tree."
Joe elaborated on his holiday rituals, telling Colbert that it was Biden family tradition to gild the tree in faux snow (created, noted the future first lady, by mixing Ivory Snow detergent with water).
"The Bidens have a tradition where they mix Ivory Snow with water — he uses my hand-mixer," Jill said.
"My dad used to do it, in the Biden tradition, [and] my grandfather. I swear to god, it looks like snow is falling on the tree," Joe said. "Santa Claus puts it on."
The former VP is also apparently quite particular about other Christmas decorations, telling Colbert that tinsel goes on “one strand at a time — you can’t throw it on."
The decorations are time-consuming, with Joe admitting he doesn't usually get to bed until "three o'clock in the morning" on Christmas Eve. Still, Biden family tradition dictates that the whole family get involved.
"Even though they're grown children, we have a tradition … based on youngest to oldest, including our grown children, they go down the stairs [on Christmas morning] after I go down and see if Santa's there," Joe said.
This year, of course, was different amid the ongoing pandemic.
On Wednesday, the incoming president gave remarks ahead of the holiday, urging Americans to prepare for the "darkest days" that lie ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that spending time apart, while disheartening, was necessary to slow the spread of the virus.
"Like we did over Thanksgiving, we all have to care enough for each other that we have to stay apart just a little bit longer," the president-elect said. "I know it's hard."
Since winning the election in November, the former vice president has been busy building his administration (and also healing from a broken foot sustained while playing with his dog).
His Republican opponent, President Donald Trump, has repeatedly claimed without any evidence that the November election was rife with fraud. A series of lawsuits failed to persuade courts across the country (as well as the Supreme Court) of any wrongdoing and the Electoral College this month made Biden's 306-232 win official.
The electoral votes will be tallied in Congress on Jan. 6 before Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Jan. 20.
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