Fort Gordon has hosted the Christmas House for 45 years. The tradition started during the Vietnam War in 1966. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 21, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 21, 2011
FORT GORDON, Ga. -- The Christmas House opened its doors for the first time this holiday season, giving military families the chance to provide Christmas for their children.
It's the 45th anniversary of Fort Gordon's Christmas House. The tradition began during the Vietnam War in 1966 as a program giving out teddy bears to children with parents serving overseas. Now, it's morphed into a chance for parents to do a little Christmas shopping.
Each child will get three shiny new toys and a gift card to the commissary. Dozens of organizations raised the thousands and thousands of dollars to purchase the room full of toys that will go to good little boys and girls come Christmas morning.
"There are families that struggle throughout the year, unable to make ends meet and at the holidays. It just seems to underscore what they don't have, as opposed to what they do have and so our volunteers take great delight in making sure that the children are celebrating the holidays just like their neighbors are next door," explained Lynn Harshman, the Christmas House program manager.
And what's a Christmas House with a visit from Santa? He was on hand to spread some holiday cheer. Military parents who signed up for the program will pick out toys in the coming weeks. The Christmas House is able to help an average of about 300 families and 850 children each year.