The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

5 Christmas War Stories That Will Warm Your Heart

Cassowary Colorizations via Wikimedia Commons
The German and British troops during the Christmas Truce of 1914

It’s that time of year again when we drink hot chocolate while cozying up to a warm fireplace or gather with family to exchange the gifts that keep giving. Christmas is finally here, and although so much of Christmas is about having a holly jolly time, this isn’t always possible. 

Many people don’t get to fully feel the spirit of Christmas with their families during war times, but we did have some moments in which the spirit of Christmas did rise on the battlefield and even in prison camps. It’s important to share how even during these dark and gritty times, Christmas was still able to shine through and provide a sense of hope and comfort to some soldiers.

The Christmas truce

This war story truly emphasized the spirit of Christmas. It displays that even during a gritty war, there can still be a sense of peace and friendship. In December 1914, the first year of World War I, men from Allied and German sides called a truce to temporarily end the battle with hopes of celebrating Christmas together. 

Although there were still casualties, the truce remained for the full day of Christmas joy. German troops would sing carols and exchange gifts with the British. The British and Germans would play football (soccer) in no-man’s land, an unowned and desolate land between the trenches in which troops hid. During the war, if a soldier took one step out of the trench into no man’s land, the soldier would die instantly due to crossfire. The fact that their truce was so strong it resulted in no man’s land becoming a safe place to hang out is unfathomable. The importance of the story demonstrates how peace can still blossom even on the battlefield. If you would like more details you could check out the Wingspan story “‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914 Shows How People Can Live in Peace” for more information.

Story continues below advertisement


“Just making myself count” A Vietnam War Christmas story 

I feel like this is worth a read considering how deep and well-written the story is. This story came from a nonfiction anthology called “Vietnam War Stories: Innocence Loss” by Tobey Herzog, which is shared by Randy & Roxanne Mills. It is a very interesting story about an army medic named Wayne “Doc” Bates. It talks about his time in the war during and after winter and the impact on his fellow soldiers. 

According to the story, Bates would set up a Christmas tree in his trench and take care of it by dusting it off. He would as well share his water with his fellow soldiers and keep his spirit high during the war. Despite how depressing war was, he would raise the spirits of other soldiers who barely slept well and felt homesick. Bates was set as a true example of Christmas spirit giving.


Latter-day Prisoner

This story contains a depressing timeline, but it has a happy ending. It’s a story by Gerald N. Lund about how Second Lieutenant Wendell B. Terry and his fellow inmates at a POW (Prisoner-Of-War) camp were struggling to survive in the extreme winter weather. They would try to keep their hopes up and celebrate Christmas to at least stay warm. While Terry and his inmates were keeping warm, the American Red Cross sent parcels to his prison, which brought hope.
Although the parcels were limited, they made a raffle to get one. Terry won one of the parcels and his friends were excited. Once Terry got the parcel he had won he and his friends didn’t expect much due to the size of the parcel. Inside the parcel was one small can of powdered milk, a packet of sugar, two squares of unsweetened chocolate, and some other non-food-related items like a toothbrush, gloves, etc. It was devastating to him because he wanted to share the gift among his friends. Soon they realize they can make chocolate with what was in the parcel. Although it would be an incredibly small amount to share, they created the chocolate anyway and shared an amount with each person, equal to the size of the tip of a pointer finger.


Kriegie Christmas

The Kriegie Christmas talks about the prisoners of war from the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. The POW (Prisoner-Of-War) camps were similar to concentration camps; they were incredibly unsanitary, overpopulated, and terrible to be in. Prisoners would spend Christmas alone in camps around Europe without being able to see their families. Some prisoners were fortunate enough to get a parcel sent to them by the American Red Cross if they were in a well-established camp. 

The American Red Cross shipped and packed around 75,000 Christmas parcels. It would contain mixtures of food, tobacco, games, and Christmas decorations. Several camps would make alcohol by fermenting the raisins that were found within the parcels.


A 1952 Korean War story

This is an archived short Korean war story about a man named Charlie Nelson who served in the Air Force during December of 1952. This comes from a town archive that has been digitalized and posted on The Pioneer, the town’s website.

Nelson arrives at a communication site in Korea and works on malfunctioning radio equipment. After some time, he meets some Korean orphan children who beg for food. He wondered why his team wasn’t doing anything, or being sheepish about it. After Nelson fixes the radio equipment he asks the NCO about the situation. He is told that his team is unable to provide food because they already gave them as much as they possibly could. It would take 3 days for rations to appear at the Army supply point. On the day of Christmas Eve, his team took the two bottles of CC and traded them for a Jeep full of rations. Nelson and his team invited the kids over and offered them food to spend Christmas Eve together.

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All The Wingspan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • N

    N BrownDec 21, 2023 at 9:44 am

    So nice to read stories of kindness.

  • K

    keith ricardsonDec 21, 2023 at 9:39 am

    want to be a part of this