DECEMBER 26, 1942
WASHINGTON, Friday—I returned yesterday morning a little bit late, but in plenty of time to get over to Arlington, Va., for the children's party given there every year by the Kiwanis Club. There were fewer children there this year, which means that more people are at work and have money enough to provide Christmas cheer for their own families.
The Central Union Mission, which usually has a large children's party, and the Volunteers of America, have also given up their annual parties. All of which, I feel, is an encouraging sign.
The Salvation Army, however, went on as usual. I imagine that among their beneficiaries there are too many old people, or people who are otherwise incapacitated for work, so they have to rely on the generosity of others for extra things at this season.
At eleven o'clock, the President and I greeted all the people in the executive office. The rule made by the government, not permitting traveling and limiting the number of people who could go home for Christmas, has made it a rather sad Christmas for many people who save their time off and their money to spend this particular holiday at home. I am sure that there are many homes that are sad also because the war has made this rule a necessity.
At 2:00 o'clock, I went to the usual ceremonies held by the Salvation Army, and found the party in the White House for the families of those attached there, in full swing when I returned. The President greeted them and all the little children received their customary gifts.
At 4:00 o'clock, the ceremonies which are usually carried on when the community Christmas tree is lit, took place, but without lighting the tree this year. However, the carols went out over the radio, and I am glad that people will be able to have their Christmas trees indoors, even though driving through the countryside and in the cities will not be as delightful an experience as it formerly was, with the outdoor lighted trees.
Today I went to the Walter Reed Hospital immediately after church, to visit the wards where we have casualities from overseas, in order to take the President's good wishes to each one of the men there.
Our two grandchildren and other children who came in for the family Christmas tree, seemed to have a very satisfactory time. It is a pleasant thing to have some children around who can be completely joyous over this Christmas season.