Here’s how the US military celebrates Christmas when serving in warzones

Santa Claus visits U.S. Airmen of the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing and their family members at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Dec. 2, 2017.

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Santa Claus visits U.S. Airmen of the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing and their family members at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Dec. 2, 2017.
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U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd

Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year.

All across the United States, civilians will light up Christmas, stockings will be hung, and the front lawns of countless homes are brightened up by some truly impressive Christmas lights.

The men and women of the world’s militaries don’t sit out on these festivities either. Whether serving at home, or far abroad, Christmas is a time for everyone to celebrate.

Here are some photos that show how soldiers, sailors, and airmen celebrate Christmas:


Despite being deployed to deserts, soldiers find a way to put up Christmas trees at their bases, like this one in Afghanistan.

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Shutterstock

Some holiday themed humor can be seen. Here, a soldier rides a military motorcycle dressed as Santa Claus after distributing gifts in Ghazni province, Afghanistan on December 24, 2005.


Some servicemen take their holiday spirit on missions. Like this US airman wearing a Santa hat during a Christmas visit operation on December 2 this year.

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U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd

Land-based equipment are also sometimes decorated, like this armored vehicle decorated with Christmas wreaths at Camp Adder, Iraq.

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Reuters

Not to be outdone, other contingents of NATO’s security mission often decorate their own equipment. This German Bundeswehr Ding was decorated as an Advent calendar with Christmas lights in Kunduz, Afghanistan on December 3, 2012.

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Reuters

Prayer services are held on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day. Here, US troops attend a Christmas celebration at Bagram air field on December 25, 2011.

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Reuters

Of course, soldiers will get a large Christmas dinner, just like this one in Balad Iraq, 2011.

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Reuters

To show appreciation, high ranking officers will serve the food. Here Afghan and US generals serve Christmas dinner to soldiers and service members with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 25, 2012.


Christmas is also celebrated on forward operating bases like this one in the Laghman province, Afghanistan, with Polish and American troops participating.

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Reuters

Back home, active duty military personnel will do what they can to remember those fallen. Sgt. 1C Kenneth Baer, US Army active duty, places a Christmas wreath at Ft. Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado on December 17, 2016.

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Reuters

Santa will make a regular appearance at bases all across the world.

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Reuters

As well as to help out at home.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

Merry Christmas!

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A US F-16 pilot of Iraq wears a Santa hat during strikes against ISIS on Christmas Day, December 25, 2016.
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US Defense Department