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Barack 'Skinny Santa' Obama surprises Chicago school students

Former President Obama visited youngsters at a school near the site of his future presidential center — and came bearing gifts.
Barack 'Skinny Santa' Obama surprises Chicago school students
Posted at 12:10 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 12:10:25-05

Former President Barack Obama visited a Chicago school Tuesday to spread some Christmas cheer. He introduced himself to youngsters at Parkside Community Academy as "Skinny Santa."  

The school is in the same area where the Obama Presidential Center will be. 

"I could not have had more fun spreading a little Christmas cheer and getting some back from these 3 and 4-year-olds," Obama said. "Especially when I started to read to them about Santa. This season is about giving, whether it's checking in on a neighbor, volunteering for a food drive or a present drive, being part of this broader community where we are all counting on each other — that's what the spirit of these holidays are about."

During his visit with the children, Obama read Derrick Barnes' new book "Santa's Gotta Go." The book is about what happens to a family when Santa Claus becomes a houseguest. 

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The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Obama came bearing gifts. The outlet reported Obama delivered toys to the classroom of 20 pre-kindergarten students, and every student at the school received winter accessories. 

“For him to take the time to come here out of his busy schedule to read a book, it just shows that he is still a leader,” Debra Gardner, a teacher at Parkside, told the Sun-Times.

The Obama Presidential Center is set to open in 2025.


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