I Saw First Ladies Kissing Santa Claus (And A First Dog Dressed As Him)

Dec 25, 2016

It's Christmas, and Santa Claus just completed his annual, almost unbelievable, trip around the world to drop off presents for children everywhere.

But on his way, he's stopped off through the years to hang out with the first family — sometimes, perhaps, there was some mistletoe around.

On at least two photographed occasions, first ladies have planted a smooch on Santa's cheek.

Here was Barbara Bush (as hubby George H.W. looks on):

Nancy Reagan seemed to have a particular fondness for celebrity Santas. Here she is on the lap of Mr. T, from A-Team days ...

... and under the arm of Larry Hagman, the actor who played J.R. Ewing of 1980s Dallas fame:

Even President Obama looked like he was about to get in on a Santa smooch a couple of years ago:

Encounters with Santa are not always so ... sassy. Sometimes, they're just plain goofy. Sometimes presidents sing ...

... and dance with Santa ...

And George W. Bush, who loved to festively sing and dance ...

... got in on the act with Santa in 2006:

Sometimes, though, the first families try to bring some seriousness. They're always trying to make Santa read to kids:

More reading:

Don't they know the kids just want the presents — or to see Rudolph?

Presidential Santa encounters go back a long way. Sometimes, presidents even dress their dogs as Santa, like Lyndon Johnson did with his presidential pup, Yuki in 1967:

Sometimes the encounters were kept on ice (before all this global warming talk, of course):

Didn't know Santa could skate? Of course he can. He's from the North Pole.

Many may not remember or know that one man, for 41 years, entertained the first family as Santa — Robert George, a Southern Californian, who, as AP dubbed him, was "Santa Claus to six Presidents." His "year-round Christmas display charmed thousands of disadvantaged and disabled children in Southern California but bedeviled some of his neighbors."

It endeared George to President Eisenhower and each successive president until his death in 1998.

"Mr. George, a retired barber, became the nation's Santa Claus in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower heard about his display and invited him to the White House," AP noted in his obit. "He subsequently accepted similar invitations from Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush. Mr. George was scheduled to attend a photo session last October [1998] with President Clinton but was forced to cancel the trip because of illness."

No one has taken George's place, but maybe it's one tradition worth bringing back. After all, this is the year of "Make America Great Again."

Speaking of #MAGA, it's not clear what Trump has in store for Santa, but Santa did show up to a Trump event earlier this month, so ...

He's also gotten in on the Santa (sort of) act in the past:

And we know for certain, he wants to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" (not Happy Holidays). Just look at all those Christmas trees:

Merry Christmas (and Happy Holidays) from all of us to all of you.

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