Here’s your weekly reminder that the Obamas are leaving the White House, so this is the last time we as a nation will be filled with true holiday cheer before The Grinch That Defrauded and Fired Christmas begins his four-year run.
This jubilant celebration of the Obamas’ final National Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday—featuring Eva Longoria, Kelly Clarkson, white Santa Claus and Sasha Obama mouthing Chance the Rapper lyrics as he performed—is almost apocalyptic in nature. There’s President Obama asking the crowd, “Are you guys ready to countdown?” before the gigantic Christmas tree lights up. And it’s like we’re counting down to inevitable destruction. Woe is us, for we know the tree will be lit up in orange and metaphorical icicles in just a year’s time.
Then, there’s Michelle Obama reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a bunch of kids who believe in magic and dreams. Imagine Melania Trump reading to these very children next year, learning alongside them. POTUS tells some jokes and we laugh and he preaches “a message of hope that never goes out of style,” a reminder that these are our last collective giggles in the name of baby Jesus. “After eight years as your president, I still believe there is so much more that unites us than divides us,” Obama tells us. Me too... Me too?
The final topping on this Christmas tree lighting is a hearty group rendition of “Jingle Bells,” with Obama, Longoria, Santa and Chance the Rapper all on stage. Let us put aside thoughts of what this celebration might look like next year. For we must find joy somewhere in the world.