Barack and Michelle Obama have made their final Christmas address to the US, with the theme 'the gift of the holidays'.

The president and first lady recalled their first holiday address in 2009, and the "countless dad jokes" Barack had told during his Christmas messages.

"The greatest gift that Michelle and I have received over the past eight years is the honour of serving as your president and first lady," Obama said, outlining the achievements including securing health insurance for 20 million people and seeing employment reach a nine-year low.

"By so many measures our country is stronger and more prosperous than when we got here," he added.

The couple also explained what they would be thinking about as they celebrated Christmas, underlining a message of unity for people of all faiths, at a time when the US is perceive to be divided following a bitterly-fought presidential election.

"As we retell his story from that holy nigh we will also remember his eternal message, one of boundless love, compassion and hope," Barack said.

Michelle added: "the idea that we are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper, that we should treat others as we would want to be treated, that we care for the sick, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger no matter where they come from or how they practice their faith."

Barack also said the values were those that not only helped guide his own family's Christian faith, "but that of Jewish Americans and Muslim Americans, non-believers and Americans of all backgrounds".

The president reminded people to recommit themselves to those values in 2017, in his final holiday address to the nation before president-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on 20 January.