BAMBERG, Germany -- Members of the military community began celebrating the holiday season at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony here Dec. 1.

The annual event, which incorporated a Christmas market and live entertainment, was not just a chance for parents to have fun and for children to meet Santa; it was an occasion for organizations like the Girls Scouts and Family Readiness Groups to raise funds.

It is a good venue for the community and helps Family Readiness Groups to raise money, said Bradley Cline, the event organizer.

"I'm glad to have an opportunity to do this for the community," Cline said. "It's a good opportunity to open the Christmas season. Last year, they made about an average of $200 per FRG. I think they will all do fine this year."

Several organizations had stands throughout the Christmas market.

"I know food is a big seller," said Michelle Davis, senior advisor for the 16th Special Troops Battalion. "It takes a lot of effort to prepare the food, cook the food and keep it warm. I wish they had more crafty… things instead of food all the time."

The 16th STB booth that Davis helped run sold coat hanger Christmas trees, which are miniature decorated Christmas trees, Davis said. The 16th STB booth also sold Hooah flowers, which are meant to be worn to show pride and camaraderie for a unit.

"Apparently it seemed to be a success," she said. "Some of the Soldiers have come and bought it for their offices because they don't have anything like that."

Sixteen of the trees were made for the Christmas market; within an hour, only one remained.

"I would like to see more types of these venues," Davis said.

The intent of raising money at the event for Davis was to put money toward an event for families of the 16th STB.

"The past five or six fund raisers we've done this year we have put it toward the gala," she said, which took place Saturday. "The FRG has been generous enough to donate $2,300 out of fund raising money to put toward the gala to keep the cost down for all the Families and Soldiers."

Not all participants had booths with the intention of raising funds for their organization.

The 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion sponsored a booth to support collecting unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots campaign. The toys will be delivered to a German orphanage. Toys can be dropped off at Army Community Service or at locations throughout the post for the local Toys for Tots toy drive. Gifts must be dropped of by Dec. 14. For more information about Toys for Tots donations, call 0951-300-7821.