KABUL, Afghanistan – The Christmas holiday season is a time for family and friends to come together, but for American military personnel stationed overseas, it can be one of the toughest times of the year.
U.S. troops are making the best of it, bringing holiday cheer to their military bases and sending best wishes home.
For Army Spc. Edward Brooks, that means reading a poem to his 8-year-old son Edward back in the United States.
Brooks gets himself ready — turning the microphone on, making a last-minute check of the scripts, figuring out where to look and giving a big smile. This reading is being recorded and the tape will be sent back home.
"'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse," Brooks read.
All around Camp Phoenix (search) in Kabul are sights and sounds from the holidays, from decorated Christmas trees to snowflakes hanging in the base's finance office to a singing snowman — a singing military snowman with a sidearm fastened to his hip.
Everything was sent from family, friends and strangers back home.
"It's important to know that people at home are thinking about you. They continue with Christmas but [are] missing you at the same time," said Army Spc. Kenny Yates.
Adding strands of lights around their barracks, soldiers with the National Guard say it brightens the season.
Members of Congress are trying to lift the troops' spirits with Christmas cards filled with messages from fellow citizens.
"We only had a couple of days to do this. Twenty-five thousand of our constituents responded in just a matter of days. It says a lot," said Rep. Chris Chocola (search), R-Ind., one of a group of U.S. lawmakers who recently traveled to Afghanistan.
Even Santa Claus paid an early visit to the Bagram Air Base (search) outside Kabul. Soldiers say all these touches bring Christmas to their home in this faraway land, and they welcome any opportunity to reach out to loved ones at home.
Click in the video box above to see the full report from FOX News' Molly Henneberg.