Michelle Obama Tells Kids: ‘I Think St. Nick Gave Up Smoking’

(CNSNews.com) – Santa Claus is fat and he smokes a pipe. That presented an uh-oh moment Monday, as First Lady Michelle Obama and TV/radio host Ryan Seacrest read “The Night Before Christmas” to a group of children at a Washington, D.C. hospital.

Mrs. Obama told the children, “Well, we have a story to tell you — a story about Christmas night and this guy named –“

“Old St. Nick,” Seacrest joined in.

Mrs. Obama told the children that she and Ryan would read together: “You guys ready?”

The story began: “‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

And so it went, until they got to the part about Santa coming down the chimney:

“His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow,” Seacrest read.

Then it was Mrs. Obama’s turn: “‘The stump of a pipe’ — I think St. Nick gave up smoking,” she interjected. (Laughter.) “This was a long time back,” she explained to the kids.

“This was written way back in the day,” Seacrest echoed.

“But way back in the day,” Mrs. Obama agreed. She continued: “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.”

Seacrest read the line about Santa’s “little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.”

“I mean this as a compliment,” Ryan told the children, before reading the line, “He was chubby and plump (laughter) — a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.”

They finished the Christmas poem without further footnotes.

Later, Mrs. Obama and Seacrest took questions from the children.

One of the children wanted to know Seacrest’s favorite holiday song.

“Favorite holiday song?” Seacrest asked. “I like — my favorite holiday song for Christmas time is ‘Silent Night.’ The candlelight service, light the candle and sing that, with everybody’s candle lit. That’s my favorite holiday song.”

“And it has to have the candle to — going with it?” Mrs. Obama asked.

“Yeah, you’ve got to light the candle on that,” Seacrest said.

Mrs. Obama told the children she likes “This Christmas.” “Shake your hand, shake your hand,” she quoted from the song by Chris Brown.

(One line in the song says, “Oh, shake a hand, shake a hand now.”)

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