Christmas House

One of the season's most famous visitors poses for pictures Nov. 14 with members of the 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion at the grand opening of this year's Christmas House facility.

Fort Gordon Christmas House has been adding joy to military families during the holiday season since 1966. This year will be no exception.

Thanks to the generosity of countless people across Fort Gordon and the Central Savannah River Area, the nonprofit organization will be providing gifts to 733 children and $50 Commissary gift cards to 365 families. Each child will receive two gifts, one book and a game for the family to enjoy together.

Christmas House hosted an open house on Nov. 14 to celebrate the hard work of its volunteers and generous support from its donors. Guests received an inside look at the “store-like” setup while enjoying Christmas melodies performed by the Freedom Park Middle School Choir, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus.

Army Community Service Director Laura Batule said for decades Christmas House has fully embraced its motto: “Giving joy and new toys to our military families.”

“The Fort Gordon Christmas House helps identify those in our ranks who need a helping hand around the holidays, and Army Community Service reaches out year-round to help families stretch their money a little bit further and take advantage of programs to help them be more ready and resilient,” Batule said.

To be considered for the program, military personnel E-1 through E-5 must submit an application expressing a financial need. Once approved, they are notified and given an appointment date to “shop” at Christmas House from Dec. 10-12. From the time they arrive at Christmas House to “shop” until the time they leave, service members will be assisted by volunteer elves who are dedicate to making the experience one they won’t soon forget.

Linda Kramer, Christmas House open house event coordinator, said that she and fellow volunteers have worked hard to ensure a magical time for shoppers – nearly 1,000 total recorded volunteer hours to be precise. As a Navy spouse, Kramer said it feels good to be part of a community that is so supportive of helping to ensure that military families have a merry Christmas.

“Just seeing the parents’ faces when they come through … they’re not expecting what they’re receiving,” Kramer said. “The community support here is awesome.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Jim Clifford said military families have a lot to be thankful for given the outpouring of support. Without the community’s volunteers, partnerships, donors and leadership across the installation, FGCH would not be the huge success it is today.

“I’m thankful for the spirit of Christmas, which is evident here today,” Clifford said during the open house. “I’m thankful for the fellowship, the partnership – and really just the goodwill that I see here amongst our folks on the installation to help out these children that could use a little extra help.”

Christmas House accepts donations year-round and can always use volunteers.

Anyone interested in volunteering or making a donation should visit the Fort Gordon Christmas House Facebook page or go to www.fortgordonchristmashouse.com.