FORT STEWART, Ga. - Children playing, Families laughing, live-music everywhere and a colossal Christmas tree, given by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, set the moment for the holiday jollies at Fort Stewart's Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, Dec. 1.

The crisp evening air outside Club Stewart, 3rd Inf. Div. Band playing holiday tunes and elves interacting with the guests, added to the Christmas ambiance as preparations were being made to ring in the holidays.

Third Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams, 3rd Inf. Div. Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson and helpers led the way to a brighter night. Together, they flipped the switch and lighted Stewart's Christmas tree.

"I just want to take a moment and say thanks to everybody who put this together," Maj. Gen. Abrams said. "It's a great Fort Stewart tradition. It's a great Army tradition. I've been doing this my whole life at places all over the world where tree lighting ceremonies were kicked-off to begin the holiday season."

For Family Member Vivian Brashear, the tree lighting ceremony marks her first.

"I always heard about the tree lighting ceremony, but I [hadn't] gone to one. So, I'm excited to see everything about it," she said. "We were really interested [in the ceremony] because I love Christmas. Anything I can do that involves Christmas, I am more than happy to [to be part of] - that's why we came."

The chorus was sung by Liberty County High School students, which included Christmas classics such as "Frosty, the Snowman" and "Jingle Bells."

Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, the elves invited the guests to sing along to the song "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

"More than just see [the event], but to feel the Christmas spirit," Brashear said. "I wish a merry Christmas to everybody. I'm so glad that I can make it here and that the Army has activities like this, so Families can come and enjoy a nice evening."

Following the tree lighting ceremony, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived to take photos with the Families.

"These are great memories you'll have for the rest of your life," Maj. Gen. Abrams said, "like I did when I was a kid growing up overseas."

The evening concluded with elves giving children and Family Members assorted candy canes carried in woven baskets.