Christmas In ... Hinesville

Live reindeer were among the highlights of Hinesville's Christmas in the Park this year.
Live reindeer were among the highlights of Hinesville's Christmas in the Park this year.

HINESVILLE, Ga. -- It might seem as if all of Hinesville gets together to celebrate Christmas.

But locals understand that's not always possible, how when thousands of their own are deployed on military operations, the holidays bring challenges and opportunities to match the excitement.

In Hinesville, it's a time when families separated by distance can try to reunite through the season

When moms snap pictures to send to dads overseas and soldiers everywhere can see familiar scenery by watching the city's parade live on the internet, courtesy of WTOC.

Back home, the festivities and support are equally plentiful.

"Especially around the holidays, some people get lonely and I think it's a good thing that we have this in downtown Hinesville,'' said Leslie Zechman, who has ridden in the Hinesville Christmas Parade as a queen the last two yers. "It's a time for the people who do have family deployed in Iraq to come around and be around other people and just enjoy the holiday season.''

And the city provides every chance to do just that, beginning with Christmas in the Park, a celebration where the mood is as live as the nativity and reindeer and peaking with the traditional downtown parade that features dozens of floats, bands and countless smiles.

"It's always been a big thing for Hinesville,'' says Gary Walker, Chairman od the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. "And I guess we are a small town with big ideas you might say.''

And you might add big dreams that get shared around the world.