Canada has a long and proud tradition of supporting various missions all around the world, making sure to bring aid to those who need it most. Unfortunately, serving our country means often missing certain things at home, and that includes being away from their loved ones during the holidays.

In 1992 three soldiers who had experienced firsthand how difficult the holidays could be separated from family, decided to make a difference. LCol Dave Marshall, Maj Roger Gauthier and Maj Bert Larsen (G1 Services 3) decided that if Canadian soldiers couldn’t be at home for the holidays, perhaps they could bring a piece of home to them. In order to be able to get what they wanted out to the thousands of deployed men and women around the world, they needed help from their community and local businesses. The support and generosity from their community, and eventually all Canadians, was bigger than they ever thought possible. Eventually, a warehouse was needed to store everything, with Army Cadets and Scouts helping to package all the gifts when the time came.

Once the packing was complete, the next issue was logistics. How were they going to send thousands of packages out to all our deployed men and women? Finally, the committee identified a ship leaving from Quebec City that could convey the gifts, which meant packing up the trucks and heading off to Quebec City.
Despite their best efforts, once they got there they found out that the ship had already departed without their precious cargo. The committee was not willing to give up. They knew these gifts were too important, a way to lift the spirits of our troops and let them know that people were thinking of them at home during the holidays. However, after a flurry of phone calls, the ship was convinced to turn back to port and the gifts were loaded aboard.

With that shipment, Operation Santa Clause was born, and every year since for the past 26years, this tradition has been kept alive through the generosity of the Canadian people and corporate Canada. Each year Op Santa delivers a small piece of hope, home and love during the holiday season to soldiers who have given up so much for duty, honour and their country.