FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The holidays are fast approaching, and the Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation invites children to let their creative juices flow this season to create handmade ornaments for its annual contest.

The DFMWR Handmade Ornament Contest will run until Nov. 21 and children are encouraged to create their most imaginative ornaments to be featured on this year's post Christmas tree.

"The contest is a wonderful opportunity for children to use their imagination and personal creativity to create something unique to their individual personality," said Lynn Avila, DFMWR community recreation special events coordinator. "It also gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride to see their masterpiece displayed on the post Christmas tree, whether they win a prize or not. It's a great feeling to pass by the post Christmas tree and see their own ornament hanging for all to enjoy."

Contest entry is free and open to children ages 3-11. Ornaments may be turned into the youth center, child development center or the special events office inside Bldg. 5700, Rm. 390, through Nov. 21.

Ornaments should be constructed using materials appropriate for display on a tree located outdoors and parents should try to avoid using anything breakable, added Avila.

"Parents and guardians are allowed to help with the ornament, but it should be the child's creation," she said. "Be creative. There is no limit to the variety of materials that can and have been used in the past. Use your imagination to create the perfect ornament for the perfect tree."

The contest usually receives 20-30 ornament entries each year, she added, and prizes will be awarded to first-place entries in the three different categories: 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9-11 years old.

"All entries will be displayed on the post Christmas tree," said Avila. "Please label your entry with the child's name and age, and the guardian's name and contact information. It's not required, but it would be great to place your creation in a (zip) bag with a note card with your contact information."

Awards will be presented at this year's Christmas tree lighting ceremony Nov. 30 on Howze Field at 5 p.m. and the overall winner will light the tree. The ceremony will also feature an evening of music, hot chocolate and a visitor from the North Pole.

For more information, call 255-1749.