In an address given Thursday in the US capital, Barak and Michelle Obama wished the American people a merry Christmas - their first in the White House.The US president and first lady described the tall West Virginia Douglas fir tree which stood in their residence, decorated with handmade ornaments sent from all over the country and depicting cheerful blessings and holiday traditions.Obama said such optimism was especially significant as the US continues "to recover from an extraordinary recession that still has so many Americans hurting: parents without a job who struggled to put presents under the Christmas tree; families and neighbors who've seen their home foreclosed; folks wondering what the new year will bring."The two dedicated their festive address "to all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen." Nothing can be compared to "the character and courage of our men and women in uniform who are far from home for the holidays, away from their families, risking their lives to protect ours," said Obama."So to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far from home-whether it's at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq or a remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers," continued the US president. "Know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families."