Though the ritual has a 20-year history, Mr Obama joked that he was ready to break with tradition because of the good looks of the 20-kilo bird named Courage.
But he explained that his daughters, who reached out to pet the turkey, were its real saviours.
“Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha – because I was planning to eat this sucker – Courage will also be spared this terrible and delicious fate,” he said at the ceremony.
After receiving its pardon, the bird was whisked off to Disney World, where it will lead the Thanksgiving Day parade.
The holiday spirit didn't end there for the Obama clan, though.
The entire family, including First Lady Michelle and her mother, spent the evening at a food pantry, handing out favourite Thanksgiving fare and wishing happy holidays to those in need.
Other stars also celebrated the American holiday by giving back to the community.
Desperate Housewives's Andrea Bowen and Corbin Bleu of High School Musical fame served food at the Los Angeles Mission's Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted by Kirk and Anne Douglas.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan's mum Dina revealed to People that the starlet plans to spend the day with family in her New York City home, where she'll make 'amazing' garlic mashed potatoes.