Far removed -- at least physically -- from the concerns of Washington, President Obama commenced the familiar rituals of his annual holiday getaway to his home state of Hawaii on Saturday, starting with a round of golf.
Roughly 12 hours after he and the first family touched down in the Aloha State, the president hit the links in a foursome that included some longtime local friends on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a short drive from his temporary abode in Kailua on the northeastern shore of Oahu.
For just the second time in his presidency, but the second year in a row, the president traveled to Hawaii free of a major crisis or legislative deadline. Congress wrapped up its work earlier this week, which allowed the president to make an on-time departure Friday night after something of a victory lap in the White House briefing room earlier in the day to highlight what he called a "breakthrough year for America."
In that year-end press conference, the president professed to be energized and excited about the work ahead in his remaining years. But he also said he was looking forward to "a quiet timeout" over the holidays.
Friday's departure marked the earliest he's left for Hawaii since taking office. He is scheduled to spend more than two weeks here, likely returning just a day before the Republican-controlled 114th Congress convenes Jan. 6.
Until then his days are likely to be fairly routine: a morning trip to the gym, an afternoon round of golf, and then dinner out with family and friends. Though no public events are scheduled, the president has also been known to make a trip out for shave ice with his daughters.
Christmas usually begins with morning services and an afternoon with members of the armed forces stationed here.