Both U.S. President George Bush and President-elect Barack Obama are spending a quiet Christmas out of the media spotlight with family and friends. They are urging Americans to remember U.S. troops abroad as they celebrate this holiday season.
President George W. Bush makes his annual Christmas Eve telephone call to US Armed Forces from his presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, 24 Dec 2008 President Bush is at Camp David - the U.S. presidential retreat in the mountains of western Maryland. President-elect Obama is in Hawaii, where he was born and raised.
They are one in spirit on this Christmas - uniting in calling on all Americans to remember and honor U.S. troops who are far from home for the holidays.
Mr. Bush called nine members of the armed forces on Christmas Eve to thank them for their service. All are deployed abroad, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan
In his weekly radio address - released early to coincide with the holiday - Mr. Bush reflected on their love of country.
"Every one of them has volunteered to serve our nation. And with their sacrifices, they preserve the peace and freedom that we celebrate during the season," he said.
President-elect Barack Obama echoed those thoughts in the official Democratic Party response.
"Our troops and military families have won the respect and gratitude of their broader American family," he said. "Michelle and I have them in our prayers this Christmas, and we must all continue to offer them our full support in the weeks and months to come."
But Mr. Obama went on to stress these are also tough times for Americans hit hard by the nation's economic ills. He said there are many who need a job, struggle to pay bills, and worry that they could lose their homes.
"That is why this season of giving should also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship. Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americas - that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper," he added.
The Obama family is expected to remain in Hawaii to ring in 2009 on January 1. President Bush will travel from Camp David to his Texas ranch on Friday and will remain there until New Year's Day.