Jan. 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM ET
Apparently the post office even makes mistakes with mail from the White House.
On New Year's Eve, an Illinois woman finally received a package her brother-in-law had sent to her family for Christmas. The damaged box came with a surprise: A gift from “Barack, Michelle + the girls,” according to the handwriting on the self-adhesive gift tag.
Alane Ecklund Church said her husband opened the box at breakfast on New Year's Day and found it in "major disarray."
"The gifts were broken open. Parts of the old box were in this toilet paper box that the post office repackaged, and in the bottom of the box was this extra gift," Church told the TODAY anchors on Thursday via Skype. "We were reading the tag, trying to figure out where this came from. It was opened, so we then discovered this was a very personal gift to Mama Kaye."
That would be Eleanor “Mama Kaye” Wilson, a close friend of the Obama family and godmother to Sasha and Malia. And the gift was a personalized book of photographs.
"It’s very special. Private moments of their year of 2013 together," Church said.
After learning who the gift's intended recipient was, Church tracked Wilson down and phoned her. That's when she learned the Obama daughters make their godmother a memory book every year.
"She is so kind, and very excited to get her picture book of the girls' lives in 2013!" Church wrote on her Facebook page, where several friends initially questioned whether anything from White House would be delivered with such unceremonious wrapping.
“It doesn't look like a box that would come from the White House. It seems like a prank,” one friend wrote.
But Church assured TODAY anchors that the gift was legitimate and would soon be making its way to Wilson and her family. She declined to show any of the photographs inside the book.
"We’re sort of wanting to keep it private for Mama Kaye," she said.