Christmas in Vietnam

Conflict: Vietnam

Santa

"Santa Claus" talks to wounded soldiers at a USO show, 1970

Homesick and war-weary, many U.S. soldiers in Vietnam tried to bring at least a little traditional Christmas spirit to their bases, tents, and outposts. While some of the luckiest were chosen to attend USO Christmas shows at nearby bases, most soldiers quietly celebrated Christmas wherever they were stationed. Some troops were treated to a full-on Christmas dinner, including turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, rolls, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, but many others just ate their normal C-rations.

The following photos document some of the different ways troops celebrated Christmas during the Vietnam War:

Christmas tree

Decorating a Christmas tree in Tan Son Nhut, 1965

Christmas dinner

Marines getting their Christmas dinner from the mess hall, 1967

reading a card

Reading a Christmas card, 1968

Christmas tree

Christmas tree set up by 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1967

wrapping presents

Wrapping presents for the Lae Quang Orphanage, 1969

opening presents

Soldiers admire Christmas gifts from home: an electric Christmas tree and red shorts, 1965

View more photos of Christmas in Vietnam in Photos – Vietnam War Army and Photos – Vietnam War Marine Corps.