One of the most stark Christmas holidays in American history is the one that took place in 1944 doing World War II. D-Day had been a successful landing and our troops were moving rapidly forward to what Americans hoped would be a quick end to the war. On December 14th, Hitler's troops launched the Ardennes Counteroffensive and broke through allied lines.
The Battle of the Bulge lasted until the middle of January.
The reports to the home front that Christmas was filled with sorrow. Over 30,000 American troops were killed or missing in the one month battle meaning that telegrams notifying families arrived in huge numbers over the holidays.
While Hitler was defeated, that period has to be one of the saddest holidays ever for Americans. LIFE has recently released some photographs that have never been published before of that historic battle.