Military Families Strive To Have Happy Holidays

Hundreds of people gathered at the Seabee base in Gulfport Thursday afternoon for the tenth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The theme, "A Magical Christmas", and with so much to offer at this year's event, many people did not know where to begin.

Some wanted to start with Santa.

"Santa is coming tonight. What do you want? A trampoline and a swimming pool," said Kallie Smith.

"The three Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Egyptian," said Keaton Powell.

And others had their choice of beginning the fun with a balloon, a drawing, or perhaps a little food.

But this event is more than having a good time.

Christina Francisco's husband is deployed to Hawaii, but she told him she was bringing their children to the event.

"It makes him happy. Knows that I'm not going crazy," said Francisco.

And if she's happy, he will be too, and that may be the booster that will keep both of them going.

"We try and do as much as we can for families. Obviously if the troops are overseas, we want them to know that their families are well cared for at home. Obviously, we want to provide an opportunity for troops and their families, social interaction, and just morale building," said MWR director Terry York.

And throw in a little visit from the Sea Wolves' Hook as well as a few Disney characters, this morale building party becomes like no other- helping a few families cope during the holidays while duty calls their loved ones.

"I miss him. And I hope he has a great Christmas," said Savannah and Joseph George.

Santa arrived on base this evening carrying more than two-thousand gifts for the children as well as for their parents.