A Touch of Christmas

Christmas is hard away from home. It is especially hard for soldiers. This is a small glimpse of Christmas in the military through the eyes of soldiers.
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Christmas postcard, ca. 1917

Christmas postcard, ca. 1917

Throughout history, soldiers have had to celebrate Christmas away from home. We recently asked readers to share images of soldiers taken during the holidays. These are some of the selections they sent.

84th Training Command. Two GIs of 84th Training Command decorate a Christmas tree in cellar of a home in Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg, Germany. December 1944.

84th Training Command. Two GIs of 84th Training Command decorate a Christmas tree in cellar of a home in Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg, Germany. December 1944.

“A Touch of Christmas.” A Navy corpsman displays a replica of a Christmas tree six weeks after Christmas ended and six days after the war in the Gulf started.

“A Touch of Christmas.” A Navy corpsman displays a replica of a Christmas tree six weeks after Christmas ended and six days after the war in the Gulf started.

A Navy Christmas dinner, circa 1942-1943. The menu is signed by Commander E.P. Moore, Commanding.

A Navy Christmas dinner, circa 1942-1943. The menu is signed by Commander E.P. Moore, Commanding.

Santa and elves arrive by special helicopter for a children’s Christmas party at Naval Air Station Oakland, 23 December 1956.

Santa and elves arrive by special helicopter for a children’s Christmas party at Naval Air Station Oakland, 23 December 1956.

Private Robert Frick and Pvt Robert Engelman, both of Philadelphia, decorate a Christmas tree with trimmings from German homes in the captured town of Heren, December 21, 1944.

Private Robert Frick and Pvt Robert Engelman, both of Philadelphia, decorate a Christmas tree with trimmings from German homes in the captured town of Heren, December 21, 1944.

Lowell May wrote, “Someone had to pull KP duty on Christmas Day.”

Lowell May wrote, “Someone had to pull KP duty on Christmas Day.”

WAVES play Santa WAVES of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts help wrap Christmas presents for Navy and Marine Corps convalescents at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, circa 1944. Admiring a package is Yeoman 2nd Class Ann G. Fee.

WAVES play Santa WAVES of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts help wrap Christmas presents for Navy and Marine Corps convalescents at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, circa 1944. Admiring a package is Yeoman 2nd Class Ann G. Fee.

MTVR of HQ Co., Combat Logistics Regiment 37, decorated for the holidays.

MTVR of HQ Co., Combat Logistics Regiment 37, decorated for the holidays.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion The Scots Guards are pictured delivering Christmas mail in style on a quad bike at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Oulette, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2012.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion The Scots Guards are pictured delivering Christmas mail in style on a quad bike at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Oulette, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2012.

Real photo postcard shows two Austrian soldiers posed with a tabletop Christmas tree. The message on the reverse sends good wishes for 1916. The postcard was postmarked on December 27, 1915, by the Austrian Landwehr Infantry Regiment “Neusandez” No. 32.

Real photo postcard shows two Austrian soldiers posed with a tabletop Christmas tree. The message on the reverse sends good wishes for 1916. The postcard was postmarked on December 27, 1915, by the Austrian Landwehr Infantry Regiment “Neusandez” No. 32.

An American soldier dressed as Santa handing out candy to Vietnamese children.

An American soldier dressed as Santa handing out candy to Vietnamese children.

1950 photo of the 29th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving cake Note the little turkeys all over it!

1950 photo of the 29th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving cake Note the little turkeys all over it!

Marine Corps cemetery at Cape Torokina, Bougainville, December 25, 1943.

Marine Corps cemetery at Cape Torokina, Bougainville, December 25, 1943.

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