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Without their loved ones, US troops struggle to maintain the Christmas cheer while stationed in Afghanistan.
However, despite the loneliness, American troops still find a way to celebrate, even in the midst of battle. These are the top ten ways troops celebrate the holiday season in Afghanistan that will bring a smile to your face.
From Santa visiting the base, to make-shift decorations and a Christmas feast, the American troops are always able to make Christmas feel like Christmas.
Santa Comes to Town
To start off our list of the best ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan, we had to begin with the yearly visit from none other than Santa himself. Santa is a very busy man during this time of the year, but he would never neglect to make an appearance at all of the bases all across the world, especially to those stationed in Afganistan.
And with the magic of Christmas, Santa also helps out a home. After visiting with the men and women who serve for their country to give them their presents, he makes his way to their homes to help their families celebrate the holiday as well. Though it's not the same as having their family member home, Santa tries his hardest to make military families feel whole.
Another one of the best ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan is that there are always prayer services held not only on Christmas Day but for Christmas Eve as well.
These services are available for the US troops, and are encouraged to be attended by all, as a form togetherness for all members, no matter if they are religious or not. The holidays are often very lonely while away from family, so the troops in Afghanistan come together to be each other's family for the time being.
Afghanistan bases are known for their make-shift decorating, especially during the holidays. You can find Christmas trees complete with substitute ornaments, and even completed with a star made from aluminum foil to top it off. Even if it's not a traditional tree, making a point to decorate the base says a lot about the spirits of these men. The more holiday cheer, the better.
Who doesn't love a good Christmas carol? Next, on our list of the best ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan is that they too sing Christmas carols.
The more familiarity the better, and bonding over Christmas carols is a great way to celebrate. You might even find that the military members would get up on stage to spread their Christmas joy along the side of their comrades.
Taking the Christmas trees on base to the next level, troops also decorate their equipment and vehicles with Christmas wreaths.
An incredible sight, simple decorations such as this show the time and effort that these troops put into portraying their Christmas spirit, no matter their situation. Even the armored vehicles got a wreath right on the nose of the truck. Even Rudolph would be jealous.
While there aren't too many ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan, they must settle with small celebrations such as having a movie night with their friends.
Making their situation work, they still want to say Merry Christmas in their own way, so watching a classic Christmas movie such as It's A Wonderful Life is a must for troops stuck in Afghanistan for the holidays. Even if this means huddling around someone's laptop to hear and see the film.
Of course, troops have to have a Christmas feast. And believe it or not, stationed troops will be "spoiled" with a large dinner for the holiday.
However, this is nothing close to spending the night with family around a comfortable table with the fire going. Still, they are provided with a specialty dinner in honor of Christmas. A great way for the military cooks to show their appreciation for the troops, Christmas dinner is always served hot and ready.
Created with a combination of all of the goodies you can get your hands on from MREs, make-shift desserts are another one of the best ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan. You've got to create a Christmas dessert somehow, right?
Troops will collect their sweats from their MREs in order to create a cake. However, it does end up looking a lot like a toddler made it. But it's the thought that counts. Plus, the process of creating the cake is fun enough.
Solider Santa Claus
Not only does the "real" Santa make an appearance on base, but soldier Sant Clauses show up as well. A great way to get in the holiday spirit, military members will dress up as Santa to bring Christmas joy to the troops, even if its just for a good laugh.
Everyone needs to enjoy dressing up as Santa and bringing gifts to others at least once in their life. Why not while you need to kill time while you're deployed?
To complete our list of the best ways troops celebrate the holidays in Afghanistan, we had to mention the fact that instruments play a big part in celebrating nearly anything while deployed. A great way to express themselves, troops always resort to music to have a good time.
And even more impressive, Afghanistan troops were even discovered to play makeshift guitars in the past. And yes, they actually sounded just like a guitar. Above is a video very similar to the instrument used while deployed during previous years.