Boy regales Jill Biden with awkward story about his dead hamster at White House event

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First lady Jill Biden was forced to change the subject sharply when a young boy reunited with her tales of his dead hamster during a White House Christmas story on Monday.

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Dr. Biden, a university English professor and wife of President Joe Biden, entertained seven to eight-year-olds at a Maryland school by reading a picture book written by him.

Sitting in front of a huge, richly decorated Christmas tree in the State Dining Room, she stopped to ask the children how much money they got from the Tooth Fairy and whether they had any pets.


One boy replied “I have one!” And then elaborated: “We used to have hamsters and hedgehogs, but one went under the door of the cage and then suffocated.”

Dr. Biden replied: “Oh my word! Okay, let’s move on to the happy things.” Then he quickly picked up his book again.

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Reading was part of the White House’s annual unveiling of Christmas decorations, which this year included 25 wreaths, 41 Christmas trees, 10,000 ornaments, 80,000 lights, 300 candles, and 6,000 feet of ribbon.

More than 100 volunteers, including Dr. Biden, worked on the decorations, although this year they only came from areas near Washington DC, not from across the country because of the risk of COVID-19.

Christmas stockings were hung over the fireplace for each of the Bidens’ grandchildren in the State Dining Room. Other rooms displayed a gingerbread White House and Biden’s Christmas card, which included a commemoration of those who died of Covid this year.

Dr. Biden’s book, called Do not forget, God bless our soldiers, was written in 2012 and her granddaughter Natalie’s experience when the child’s father, Beau Biden, was serving in the US military in Iraq.

He began by asking if there were any military kids in the class; there were many. “The Bidens are a military family,” she explained. “While my son was away, my granddaughter – just like you kids – really, really missed her daddy.

“That’s why I wrote this book to tell other kids, because there are a lot of kids who don’t know what it’s like to be a military kid. And they don’t know, sometimes it’s really hard.”


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