President Biden spending Christmas at the White House

Joe Biden

FILE – President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron during a visit to the National Institutes of Health on Dec. 2, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. Biden plans to stress in a Dec. 21 speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from a wave of COVID-19 infections tied to the new omicron variant as Christmas approaches. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden will spend his first Christmas as president at the White House with family and is giving up his New Year’s tradition of sun and St. Croix for the chill of Delaware this year, his spokesperson said Wednesday.

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The decision to spend Christmas at the White House was unexpected from a president who heads home to Delaware for the weekend as often as possible. During his first year in office, he’s spent more than 25 weekends at his Wilmington home or his Rehoboth Beach house, where it’s easier for friends and family to stop by and for the Bidens to enjoy bike rides or outings to the beach.

Biden has suggested he’s uncomfortable with the trappings of life in the White House, at one point saying living there was like being in a “gilded cage.”

The president will also eschew his family tradition of traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the New Year’s holiday, a trip he’s made with his family nearly every year since 2008. His brother James owns property on Water Island, and Biden often has spent the week there or on St. Croix. Instead, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, he’ll spend some time between Christmas and New Year’s in Delaware.

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