Kamala Harris & Doug Emhoff Will Have 'Very Different Christmas' — But Say 'Love Remains the Same'

In a holiday message posted to Twitter Friday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff wished Americans a "safe and very merry Christmas," noting that celebrating amid the coronavirus pandemic meant that traditions would look different in 2020.

"I know this is a very different Christmas than we're used to. But it is a time to still greet each other, to see each other, and to celebrate each other," Harris, 56, said.

"And I know everyone has their traditions that they normally do each year, and they're going to be different this year," Emhoff, 56, continued, noting that the pandemic had put a wrench in the couple's own annual holiday tradition: brunch.

"We have our traditions, we have our famous brunch that we do with our family and we're not going to be able to do that this year," Emhoff said, turning to his wife. "Or I know you love making your mom's recipe for chile relleno, and I know we're not going to be able to do that this year."

Harris said she would indeed still be making the dish this year, though she added that it would be a smaller serving than is traditional for the family.

The couple went on to note that the pandemic had altered the holiday season in other ways, as well, due to unemployment, longer food lines, and grief experienced by those who had lost loved ones to the virus.

They added that they were thinking of the military service members and frontline healthcare workers who were "putting their lives on the line" for Americans.

"We celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the hope of this moment," Harris said. "It's the spirit of knowing the power that we each have to leave the world better than we found it."

In addition to celebrating Christmas, the couple also recently celebrated Hanukkah, with Harris telling followers in an Instagram video that she loved the holiday, "because it really is about the light and bringing light where there has been darkness."

"And it's about joy," Emhoff said. "And it's about spreading joy around the world and sharing it with your family and your friends and your neighbors and your community. And that's important right now."

Emhoff and Harris met through a mutual friend and married in 2014. Harris then became a stepmom (or "Momala") to Emhoff's kids from a previous marriage: Cole and Ella.

The couple spent the past year campaigning – first for Harris' own run for president and then as vice president, after she joined the Biden campaign.

Emhoff was a fixture on the campaign trail, taking a leave of absence from his law firm to rally voters behind his wife. He recently announced he'd be leaving the firm once his wife becomes vice president, though he's made clear that he won't serve as an adviser for Harris.

"She's got plenty of great people giving her political advice," Emhoff told PEOPLE in a November Zoom interview. "I'm her partner, I'm her best friend and I'm her husband. And that's what I'm here for. I'm here to have her back."

Harris will be sworn in as the first female vice president of the United States on Jan. 20, and recently told Good Morning America that she'll "be thinking about [her] mother" come Inauguration Day.

"I was raised by a mother who said to me all the time, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things — make sure you're not the last,' " Harris, who will also be the first Black person or person of Indian descent to hold the office, told Robin Roberts. "That's how I feel about this moment."

Harris' mom, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, died of cancer in 2009, and is often cited by the California senator as a role model who worked hard to raise her two daughters into confident women.

"My mother understood very well that she was raising two Black daughters," Harris wrote in her 2019 memoir, The Truths We Hold. "She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as Black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud Black women."

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