FORT STEWART, GA -- Home for the holidays, Soldiers and Families were afforded an opportunity by Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Morale, Welfare and Recreation to experience a magical evening Dec. 4 at Club Stewart and Dec. 8 at Hunter Club.

The brain-child of Kathy Surges, MWR marketing, and a panel of creative minds, the installation clubs were decorated to the theme of "T'was a Night Before Christmas," a poem by Clement Clarke Moore written in 1822.

The events started with a Christmas carol sing-a-long with Army Community Services's Yolanda Hingel boosting spirits so high that audience members were singling loudly, and children started dancing with MWR "elves" (employees) dressed in their merry attire of green and red.

Amidst the songs and dance, 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Afterward, with assistance from local city officials and children, Cucolo helped throw the switch, lighting the Christmas tree.

Caroling commenced at both Stewart and Hunter, and as the last song was sung, "Here Comes Santa Clause," who but the jolly red and white clad figure would arrive and precede into the clubs where the dream that was 'The night before Christmas' came to life. Children entered the building and eyes widened as they were transported to a winter wonderland, complete with 'fairies,' immense candy-canes made of balloons, snow covered (cotton) grounds, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

The event expanded to all of the rooms in the clubs.

Beverly Childs said she was delighted to see themed areas at both Stewart and Hunter. The event had goodies and crafts for guests, including the 'Visions of Sugar Plums'; stocking filling, 'A Right Jolly Old Elf and Cookies with Mrs. Santa' section; 'Down Through the Chimney' area; and of course, Santa's Village, where children had the opportunity to take photos with Santa.

At Stewart's event, Col. Todd Buchs, installation garrison commander, said the MWR staff did a wonderful job in putting the event on. He said it was nice to be able to provide an opportunity for Soldiers and their Families to have fun together.

At Hunter, Eli Wilson, Tominac Fitness Center sports specialist, expressed his appreciation.
"A lot of the Soldiers who are redeploying are sharing a Christmas with their Families that they didn't get last year," he said. "I think it is a great way to spend time with their Families."

Editors Note: Contributing information provided by Kaytrina Sharp, Hunter Public Affairs; and James Jeffcoat, Chief of Command Information.