FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As children and parents prepare to take a break from the school year and get ready for a visit from Santa Claus, many were able to get a head start on the true spirit of the season by spending time together at the Fort Rucker Primary School.

The primary school hosted a holiday meal for parents and children Dec. 7, where more than 200 parents attended to share in family time and traditional holiday food, said Dr. Deborah Deas, FRPS principal.

"Both schools always provide a holiday meal for parents because we think it's important that parents have an opportunity to come in and share a meal with their children and to see what goes on here at the school," she said. "This gives them a chance to have a really active hand and to be with their children, and it's great to get to see them sit together.

"It's also a great chance for the parents to see their children's friends and what it is they do here at school," she continued. "We just love to be able to have this many parents coming in to the school to spend time with the children."

A traditional holiday meal of turkey, stuffing, cobbler, green beans, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce was served, which required extra work by all staff members to be able to pull off the event without a hitch. Each staff member, including faculty and cafeteria workers, had to put in extra hours decorating and preparing the meals for the family members, said Deas.

"This is really a labor of love for everyone involved," said the principal "We had teachers, who decorated in the cafeteria yesterday, and, of course, our wonderful workers in the cafeteria have to put in some extra hours to prepare -- they do a great job with that."

All of the extra work was well received, and welcomed by parents and students.

"I think it's great that we get to come here and share a meal with our kids," said Stephanie Thompson, military spouse and FRPS parent. "The more time that I get to spend with my children I'm grateful for, so I think this is a great idea. The meal was great and the staff are great, and I really think our kids love to be able to show off their school any chance they get.

"They have a wonderful staff here and it's obvious that they care so much about our children, and I just thankful for that," she continued. "I really wouldn't want it any other way."