I came across this article through the excellent Library Link of the Day service (if you are interested in library issues and not already subscribed--you should be!) Storybook Soldiers is an initiative established by the British Army which allows members of the armed services serving in Afghanistan to record themselves reading a bedtime story for their children. It makes a compelling argument for the power of parental reading, not just as an education tool but an emotional lifeline, especially over the holiday period.
Wartime and Christmas have crossed paths before, perhaps most famously during World War I, when the German and Allied soldiers engaged in an impromptu Christmas truce. This event is retold in John McCutchen's Christmas in the Trenches. Oil paintings by illustrator Henri Sorenson, and a CD with a recording of the folk ballad on which the book is based add to a touching, if somber, Christmas offering. War is hell, but Christmas, one hopes, is civilizing.