TODAY   |  December 25, 2013

USO celebrates holiday with annual delivery

The United Services Organization continues its annual Christmas convoy, delivering an assortment of gifts from video game systems to New York Yankees memorabilia to soldiers serving in Afghanistan. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> it is hard to be away from loved ones during the holidays but thanks to the uso's christmas convoy , service members stationed in the most desolate areas, you of afghanistan have recent reason to celebrate today. here's nbc's chief pog correspondent, jim miklaszewski .

>> reporter: .in eastern afghanistan , the majestic snow-capped mountains at least gift feeling of christmas , but it's the uso that delivers the goods. for the fifth straight year, the uso's annual christmas convoy spread gifts and good cheer to u.s. troops on the battlefield.

>> merry christmas .

>> reporter: in the east, it was led by santa herself, regina wages, the uso director at forward operating base .

>> i love these guys. they need a little piece of home and i love providing it for them.

>> reporter: it is all done with volunteers, soldiers helping soldiers.

>> just putting a smile on someone else's face.

>> reporter: all gifts are donated, like flat screen tvs and the latest xbox.

>> i like seeing faces, too, when they open up something, and like, they are all surprised if it is something really nice.

>> reporter: donations for the uso christmas caravan come from a wide variety of sources in this care the big am, new york city , of course. with donations from the new york giants, but the big score, the new york yankees. helicopters turned into santa's sleigh, delivering gift toys military bases throughout afghanistan . at forward operating base metterlam, soldiers were preparing for a mission outside the wire, only days before christmas .

>> so, all he have a new xbox, your newest 2014 games, including you " call of duty ghost."

>> reporter: uso convoy was just what these troops needed, at least for a moment to take their minder off the war.

>> just to be kids for five minutes and just help the next two months.

>> how about you?

>> i like being a kid once in a while .

>> reporter: alan reyes is a senior vice president for the uso.

>> just a little taste of home gives them that feeling of comfort and frankly, the feeling that people back home care about what they are doing and who they are.

>> reporter: and what about those yankees? despite last season's record, they were big winners here.

>> i am a yankee fan. it goes together.

>> reporter: for most of these soldiers, this will be their last christmas in afghanistan . as the war winds down, so does the uso convoy. the uso delivered gifts to 80 american bases last year. this year, only 50. by next year, these convoys may come to an end. that's hard to take for regina wages.

>> out here serving these guys for -- since 2009 . and to think that -- i mean, i'm glad they are going home , but for me, it's kind of sad.

>> reporter: for this holiday season , as notice past, the uso was front and center and the soldiers' spirits soared.

>> merry christmas !

>> ho, ho, ho! [ laughter ]

>> reporter: just knowing that somebody out there cares. for "today," jim ming la she have ski, nbc news, afghanistan .

>> it's nice to see. we want, of course to wish every member of our armed forces a very merry crist mace. hard to be away from home during these times.

>> we should mention not only overseas but there are a lot on bases here in the united states .

>> absolutely.

>> who can't be with their families either. so thank you for what you do for this country.