With a warm Hawaii holiday vacation on his mind, President Barack Obama finished his year-end press conference Friday with a Christmas sign-off that no doubt made the Aloha State proud.

“Thank you, everybody. Mele Kalikimaka,” Obama said, offering the Hawaiian greeting for “Merry Christmas.”

Friday’s press conference ― likely Obama’s last in office ― was a bit of final presidential business before the first family departed Washington for Hawaii.


Obama spent much of his childhood on Oahu. Since being elected to the White House in 2008, he and his family have traveled back each year for Christmas vacation.

According to a White House press pool report, the Obamas boarded Air Force One just before 6 p.m. EST Friday (1 p.m. Hawaii time). Both the president and first lady “made a brief wave at the top of the stairs and then bade farewell to winter for the next 2.5 weeks,” pool reporter Gardiner Harris of The New York Times wrote.

This year’s vacation, scheduled to run through the New Year holiday, will include a historic visit between Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Pearl Harbor, where the two will remember victims of Japan’s attack 75 years ago.

In a statement earlier this month, Obama said the meeting would serve as a “testament that even the most bitter of adversaries can become the closest of allies.”

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