Imagine, if you can, taking an average MCMAP field on Camp Pendleton and transforming it into a snow covered winter wonderland. That is exactly what the Marines at Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton did for their Holiday Gathering this year.
This gathering, which took place Dec. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m., was the vision of one very enthusiastic Family Readiness Officer, Sony Avalos, who wanted to create an outdoor “winter wonderland” for all ages to enjoy. Her vision began with dinner under a soft lit canopy, with a meal of ham, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls and more that was served hot and ready for all to enjoy. For dessert you could grab fresh baked cookies or some sweet treats from the Candy Shop and finish it off with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee from the hot beverage station. Provided by the air station’s own Ms. Lita Davis, the hot beverage station’s festive lighting and warm, welcoming atmosphere was enjoyed by everyone. Alongside the beverage station was the Candy Shop where you could fill a bag, and your belly with sweet treats of all kinds including holiday fortune cookies and chocolate dipped candy canes.
Families could take a walk through a small, soft lit display of festive holiday decorations that lead the way to Santa Claus. Santa, who rode in on a P19 fire truck provided by MCAS Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, captivated children with his caring and talkative demeanor. While with Santa, each child was provided not only a photo opportunity, but presents that they could pick out of baskets filled with a variety of over 500 different toys, games and books.
Once toys were selected, you could head over to the craft stations, where you could make hand-crafted necklaces, ornaments, and gift bags that you could use to add a nice touch to your holiday decorations at home.
Last, but certainly not least, there was the snow, which made a large impression on all for both its size and five-foot high sledding hill. Both children and adults enjoyed a night of building snowmen and sledding.
During this event everyone listened to the live band of Marines led by Sgt Nathan Rembert, who serenaded those who attended with spirited holiday songs. From the snow capped sledding hill to the honey glazed ham, the night proved to be both magical and memorable.
Sgt. Melody Battaglia is a contributing writer from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.
Writers may submit articles for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton publication consideration to MCB_CamPen_Scout@usmc.mil.