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Guard families get holiday party at governor’s house

Colorado National Guard families enjoy crafts, cookies and a special holiday story at the Beottcher Mansion, Dec. 19, 2011, in Denver. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hosted the holiday reception for the family members of deployed Colorado National Guardsmen. Hickenlooper and Santa Claus arrived on the scene via a holiday humvee. (Official Colorado National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral)

Colorado National Guard families enjoy crafts, cookies and a special holiday story at the Beottcher Mansion, Dec. 19, 2011, in Denver. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hosted the holiday reception for the family members of deployed Colorado National Guardsmen. Hickenlooper and Santa Claus arrived on the scene via a holiday humvee. (Official Colorado National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral)

DENVER, Colo. -- Family members of deployed Colorado National Guardsmen celebrated the holidays in a unique way this year.

A holiday reception was held in their honor today at the Beottcher Mansion, where CONG senior leaders greeted the families and children enjoyed crafts, cookies, milk, cider and cocoa.

Later, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper arrived with Santa Claus via a holiday humvee.

The governor then read "The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas".

Photo opportunities with Santa followed.

Nearly 200 Soldiers and Airman of the Colorado National Guard are currently deployed and unable to celebrate the holidays with their families.

Hickenlooper and Edwards have released video messages for CONG members and their families. Videos can be viewed or downloaded at http://www.youtube.com/congpaotv.

More photos from this event are available on Flickr.