U.S. troops in Afghanistan, away from their families and thousands of miles from home, were celebrating Christmas in their own way Tuesday with carols, candles and the company of each other.

Soldiers from the U.S., France and Germany packed a dining hall at the Kabul International Airport for a traditional Christmas meal. As the turkey was carved, they shared thoughts of their families.

“I wish I could be home with my family and friends, but, I mean, I am surrounded by nothing but awesome people, so it is good,” U.S. soldier Vanessa Gann said.

In Kabul, soldiers and service members with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sang carols and lit candles during a service on Christmas Eve at the U.S.-led coalition base