By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterDecember 15, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As Christmas gets closer and Santa gets ready to fill his sleigh for his trip around the world, Fort Rucker children and families visited with the man in red to personally fill him in on their wishes for the holiday season.
The Landing hosted its annual Breakfast with Santa Dec. 10 where families enjoyed a meal and spent some one-on-one time with Old Saint Nick, according to Kaylee Mikuteit, Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing and promotions coordinator.
People were treated to a buffet-style breakfast, which included eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, grits, hash browns, fruit, pastries, juice and coffee.
W01 Joseph Martin, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, came out with his family to enjoy the opportunity to create memories with his children.
"Santa is a big deal to kids," he said. "I remember growing up how much he meant to me and what it felt like to be able to see him, so I want my children to have those same, happy memories.
"It's great that we get to come out here, have some breakfast and let them talk to Santa because it really does start to make the holidays feel like the holidays," he continued. "I feel like I'm going to try and hold on to these traditions as long as I can because before you know it, my kids will be grown and I'll be able to look back on things like this."
Mikuteit said the day is an opportunity to bring families together and spend quality time with one another, which is exactly the atmosphere organizers hoped to create.
"Oftentimes, it is hard for families to take time out of their busy schedules to come together and focus on what's most important -- each other," she said. "Events like (this) allow families to step back from their busy lives and relax as a whole.
"The holiday season is about sharing laughter, spreading positivity and taking care of one another," she continued. "The simplest way to do this is by enjoying quality time together. It is a chance for family and friends to come together, create memories and celebrate all of the components that the holiday season encompasses."
For Judica Preston, military spouse, those memories and opportunities are what make the holiday season.
"Christmas isn't Christmas without a visit to Santa -- it's that simple," she said. "I don't care how old I get or how old my children get, I'm going to keep this tradition going as long as I can because even though there might come a point where they stop believing in him, it's more about the way it makes us feel to be around each other this time of year, and seeing Santa always just a makes me feel good and happy."
For Santa, who was brought to life by Jesse Hixson, retired military, it's the chance to make memories for the children and families that has him traveling all over to do what he does.
"(These children) are why I enjoy doing this," he said. "This is my fourth year doing this and the kids are just happy when they see me. I just enjoy working with them and making them happy."