This is how military families celebrate Christmas around the world

By J.G. Noll

While there’s no place like home for the holidays, for most military families scattered around the globe, home is exactly where they happen to be for Christmas. Gone are the illusions of a Currier and Ives holiday. Instead, home looks like sandy beaches, flat deserts, or countries where the language sounds foreign and unforgiving. For some military families, Christmas will be celebrated when they’re together with loved ones, not on the 25th. For others, it means soaking in the culture and enjoying unfamiliar traditions. For others, it means painful loneliness. These photographs capture how military families respond to the joy of the Christmas season around the world.

They celebrate far from home.

Photo: DVIDS

They bring joy to children through partnerships with local schools, organizations, and groups.

Photo: DVIDS

They come home…bearing presents.

Photo: DVIDS

They carry traditions with them, no matter where they are for the actual holiday.

Photo: DVIDS

They join together for community events on bases.

Photo: DVIDS, Master Sgt. Erick Ritterby

They dance.

Photo: DVIDS,  Lance Davis

They work together to benefit the disadvantaged.

Photo: DVIDS, Osakabe Yasuo

They look out for each other.

Photo: DVIDS, Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman

They extend peaceful hands to allies.

Photo: DVIDS, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cameron McCulloch

They share their traditions with other cultures.

Photo: DVIDS

They take toys and supplies to families who live far, far away.

Photo: DVIDS, Alejandro Pena

They keep the watch.

Photo: DVIDS, Senior Airman Delano Scott/Released

They decorate even the most unlikely places.

Photo: DVIDS, Timothy L. Hale

They help to spread cheer to those less fortunate.

Photo: DVIDS, Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard

They believe in something larger than themselves.

Photo: DVIDS, Amaia Unanue