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Free trees for troops, Drive-in movie

Holiday plans on base include annual traditions

MWR will host a holiday drive in movie this December as part of a month of COVID friendly activities on base. Photo courtesy MWR.

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A Christmas tree certainly brightens the holiday season.

Military can receive free Christmas trees, Dec. 5, by appointment on Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) as part of the Trees for Troops holiday tradition. It is one of several holiday activities that will go forward on base during this global pandemic.

Events include Trees for Troops, a virtual tree lighting ceremony, Wreaths Across America, and a drive-in movie.


The Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation typically has over 500 free Christmas trees for local troops. In normal years, military members show up during a set time, however, this year due to COVID-19, appointments must be made in advance and in person at the Northwest Adventure Center on North Fort or at Adventures Unlimited on McChord.

JBLM soldiers and airmen between the ranks of E-1 and E-5 have first priority.

Local military have expressed their appreciations of the program via Facebook. One local member said, "Got our first family Christmas tree through this program. What an amazing feeling a simple tree can bring."

From across the country, tree growers and their customers donate the fir trees as a way to thank those who serve. In 2005, the National Christmas Tree Association created the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation.  

Since then, FedEx, which ships the trees at no charge, has delivered more than 160,000 Christmas trees to servicemembers and their families, covering every branch of the military at more than 60 bases.


According to a JBLM release, the deadline to sponsor wreaths for the Wreaths Across America program at the Camp Lewis Cemetery is Nov. 30. For the last four years, JBLM has participated in the program, each of the more than 1,000 headstones at the cemetery have had a wreath displayed.

More than 200 wreaths are needed to complete the Camp Lewis Cemetery event Dec. 19. You can sponsor a wreath by visiting, and click on "Sponsor Wreaths." Due to current COVID-19 guidelines, JBLM leaders will conduct a small, socially-distanced ceremony, and service members will place the wreaths on the headstones. Prerecorded video will be shared on National Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 19 on JBLM's Facebook page. The ceremony will not be open to the public; however, the Camp Lewis Cemetery will be open for visitors Dec. 19.

Tree Lighting

The lighting of the base Christmas tree, normally an in-person event, will be streamed live this year instead on MWR's Facebook page, Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Drive-in Movie

JBLM's MWR will hold a December drive-in movie featuring Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The movie will be Dec. 19 at the American Lake Conference Center parking lot and Dec. 20 at the McChord Club parking lot. Concessions (prepackaged treats and drinks) will be available for purchase, however, social distancing and masks will be enforced when out of your car.

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