Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres asked Obama about the contents of the box on an interview airing Thursday.
"So, what was in there?" Degeneres asked to laughs from the audience. 
Obama said it was a “lovely frame,” adding that the current first lady's gift was outside the norm of traditional diplomatic exchanges. 
"Well, there’s all this protocol,” Obama said. “This is like a state visit, so they tell you, ‘They’re going to do this, you’re going to stand there.’ Never before do you get this gift."
“So I’m sort of like, ‘OK, what am I supposed to do with this gift?’ ” she added, laughing at footage of her looking around confused. 
She said "everyone cleared out" for a photo, so there was no staff to grab the box, but her husband, former President Obama “saved the day” by bringing the box inside the White House.
The episode will air on Thursday as part of DeGeneres’s 60th birthday celebration. It marks Obama’s first TV interview since leaving the White House last year.