Soldiers and family members from across Fort Stewart gathered for the annual Winter Fest tree lighting ceremony to celebrate the 2022 holiday season at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Dec. 6, 2022. The festival commenced with the 3rd Infantry Division Band playing music followed by remarks from 3rd ID command staff and notable Christmas characters.

“It’s a great event for Soldiers and their families,” said Mark Germonprez, director of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. “We hope everyone had a great time tonight on behalf of the MWR family.”

The ceremony started with an unlit Christmas tree that required Christmas spirit to light it up, which was measured using the Spirit Clausometer. The indicator for the Spirit Clausometer increased as attendees sang Christmas Carols. Special appearances were made by various "elves" along with Santa and Mrs. Claus to encourage families to embrace Christmas cheer.

The Winter Fest is held yearly and includes the lighting of a large Christmas tree that stands just outside of the division headquarters. This ceremony is held not only to celebrate the Christmas tradition, but also the tradition and history of Fort Stewart and 3rd ID.

“We had a successful tree lighting event,” said Col. Manny Ramirez, the garrison commander of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. “I just want to say thank you to the community, the families, and the Soldiers for what they have done tonight to make this event possible.”

Soldiers and family alike can honor traditions like this held by 3rd ID whenever they arise, further promoting the concept that the Army can be viewed as a second family, regardless of people being viewed as either a civilian or a Soldier.