Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Adam Howard

For fans of the outgoing first family, this holiday season will be bittersweet. It will be the Obamas' last year of appearing on their annual Christmas cards.

This year's card features a much grayer President Obama than the one Americans elected for the first time eight years ago, alongside first lady Michelle Obama and his two daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, who have grown up in the White House.

Related: The Obamas Light National Christmas Tree for the Final Time

"As our family reflects on our many happy years spent in the White House, we are grateful for the friends we've made, the joy we've shared, and the gifts of kindness we've received," the card reads. "We wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year."

Its signed by President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha, as well as the two adorable White House dogs Bo and Sunny.

In recent years, Bo enjoyed a starring role on the White House card. The hypoallergenic dog was first pictured in a heartwarming tableau by a fireplace in 2011, and then frolicking in the snow outside the White House in 2012.

Bo also appeared alongside Sunny in the official 2014 and 2013 holiday cards.

But that card and previous holiday messages from the Obamas stoked some controversy since they lacked a specific message about Christmas, opting instead to be inclusive.

This year's card, the first to feature the Obamas on its cover since 2009, has largely provoked an emotional and positive reaction from supporters of the president on social media.

The official White House holiday card tradition dates back to the 1920s, when then-President Calvin Coolidge occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This time next year it will be up to President-elect Donald Trump to determine the style and substance of this annual occurrence.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump, members of his family and his staff openly lamented the fact that many Americans and businesses opt to say "happy holidays" during this season instead of "Merry Christmas," a practice they attribute to political correctness, and one that Trump predicted would stop once he entered the White House.