Desert Storm: Christmas in Saudi Arabia

Christmas was only 34 days since Thanksgiving, but the changes were like night and day. It was like the war was reaching ahead of itself to us, in anticipation of what might happen. Thanksgiving was definitely not a normal day, right from President Bush’s visit to the big meal, and even the decorations.

At this point during Desert Shield, I’d received very little mail from home. In fact, I’d primarily received bills. My mother, who wrote her parents every day, wasn’t writing anything at all. That was one of the hardest things about being deployed so far away and in an environment where communication was a challenge. The world continued to happen, while I was stuck in a time bubble, and I didn’t know what was going on.

Christmas started out really like the day before and also like the day after. The world was brown and olive drab. No decorations, no Christmas tree. We had our first formation. Then one of our 40 foot trucks pulled up with a box trailer. It was filled with packages sent from the United States to “Any Soldier.”

Package after package was brought to us, so many it was overwhelming. Most of it was toiletry kind of stuff, and hard candy. Basic supplies had been hard to get initially, so everyone was still sending more to us. We received so much candy that we were sick of it and lobbing bags of it into trucks as they stopped at fuel point. The nicest thing I got was addressed to “Any soldier who was a cat lover.” Someone sent pictures of their cats.

It was nice to see that so many people did care, and it did usher in a feeling of Christmas spirit that sometimes gets lost during the holidays with all the commercialism.

But only a few hours later, we were back to work, readying for the war coming in 24 days.

4 thoughts on “Desert Storm: Christmas in Saudi Arabia

    1. That’s an interesting question, and I had to go look it up. I thought some of it had been discontinued following the anthrax scare. But I found this one, which is on this year’s CFC list: They recommend sending Beanie Babies. I actually thought that was a pretty cool idea. Everything’s all one color, so bright colors are a must.


  1. Linda, really enjoy your stories for the build up to war. The wait was the real killer. I lived there at the time Kuwait was invaded. Very little sleep after that, not for fear for life but fear of missing something. I went home for Christmas and was ridiculed for going back. I couldn’t turn my back on friends and what we were doing supporting the troops and keeping the oil flowing to the free world. Hope you keep up the stories and Merry Christmas.


    1. I’ve been putting the posts together (plus some extras) in to a book for publication next year. When I broke it down in sections, I was surprised at how long the build up section was. The waiting really was bad!


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