As the holidays are underway, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have shared Christmas messages, asking the public to keep exercising COVID-19 safety precautions and refrain from meeting in large groups.

“Jill and I wish you and your family peace, joy, health and happiness this season. But we know for so many of you in our nation this has been a very difficult year, and we’re reminded in this season of hope our common humanity and what we’re called to do for one another," Biden said in a video posted to Twitter. "Many of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, and pay their rent or their mortgage."

He added, “We’re reminded we’re on this earth to care for one another, to give what we can and to be a source of help and hope to friend and stranger alike.”

His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, said in the video, “Many families are facing their first Christmas having lost a loved one. And Joe and I know that sorrow. And we know how, in times of grief, a kind word can mean so much.”

The President-elect noted how his family usually hosts around 25 people on Christmas eve, but canceled the celebration this year due to the pandemic. “We’re going to miss our family, but it’s what we need to do to keep our family safe,” he said. “We hope you’ll consider limiting travel and the size of family gatherings as well this year.” 

Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff also shared their own video on Friday, where Harris said that she knows “this is a very different Christmas than we’re used to. But it a time to still greet each other, to see each other, and to celebrate each other.” Emhoff added that they usually hold a brunch with the family on Christmas.

“It’s going to be a much smaller situation, and I think about all of the families who also are going to have, like Joe says, an empty chair at the table because of someone they’ve lost,” Harris said. “We’re going to get through this moment, and we’re going to get past this moment.”

Both couples also took a moment to applaud COVID vaccine researchers, service members, and front-line and essential workers.

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