Santa’s going virtual for military children this season

Santa will be making the rounds virtually this holiday season with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Zuhoo.

Zuhoo provides a virtual platform for military families to chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus from the comfort of their own home. Families can choose from a list of diverse Clauses who speak English, Spanish and also offer American Sign Language.

“No matter where their family is currently serving, it’s comforting to know that military children will still be able to see and chat with Santa,” said Wright-Patterson Exchange General Manager Keola Chan. “Plus, family back home can join at no additional cost!”

Registration is available at From there, families can select their local Exchange and book their visit with a 20% military discount.

Pricing starts at $24.95 pre-discount and reservations will be on sale beginning mid-November.

Exchange giving away $500,000 in gift cards

Military shoppers can walk away with a share of $500,000 in gift cards when visiting Wright-Patterson BX on Black Friday.

Authorized Wright-Patterson BX shoppers can fill out an entry form at the Exchange on Nov. 26 to win a $1,000 Exchange gift card, courtesy of Subway. Around the world, 500 shoppers – at least one from each main store – will win.

“The Exchange is excited to make the holiday season extra merry by giving away $500,000,” said Chan. “It’s an honor to make this special time of year even more meaningful for the Wright-Patterson community.”

Wright-Patterson Exchange’s newest authorized in-store shoppers – service-connected disabled veterans as well as Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilians – can enter, too.

The drawing for winners will take place at the BX by the end of day Nov. 26. No purchase is necessary to enter or win, and shoppers do not have to be present for the drawing to win.

Wright-Patterson BX shoppers can visit to scout Black Friday deals and browse the weekly digital ads for the latest military-exclusive prices to purchase with the prize money.

Exchange dishing up deals

Military shoppers can start their shopping online with a buffet of savings on Thanksgiving Day and then feast on Black Friday deals bright and early Nov. 26 with online bargains beginning at midnight and the Wright-Patterson Exchange opening at 8 a.m.

“The savings, deals and giveaways will be rolling out starting online on Thanksgiving Day,” said Chan. “We’re excited about bringing back the excitement to holiday shopping.”

Black Friday deals at Army & Air Force Exchange Service locations include up to $800 savings on select appliances; 20% off select furniture; 20% off fine jewelry and watches and up to $200 savings on select laptops and monitors.

Additionally, participating Exchange restaurants will offer 15% with a MILITARY STAR card. Free brewed or drip coffee at Expresses and participating restaurants will help perk up shoppers, too.

The deals do not stop on Black Friday, however, as Saturday and Cyber Week offer a smorgasbord of savings.

Deals for Nov. 27 include 20% off select furniture, 50% off select headphones, the lowest prices of the season on jeans, 30% off select styles of select watches as well as select board games for as low as $10.

Cyber Week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, will offer military shoppers $900 off select 85-inch 4K televisions, $60 off select cookware sets, select handbags for 50% less than MSRP and 30% off select vacuums.

Additionally, from Nov. 26-28, the Wright-Patterson Exchange will distribute scratch-off cards to customers arriving each morning. Shoppers can scratch the cards to reveal specials including $100, $50 and $25 gift cards, $10 off any purchase of $100 or more, $20 off any purchase of $200 or more, free food and more. Winners may redeem their offers in store Nov. 29 through Dec. 12.

Shoppers can view the digital sales ads at by navigating to “Weekly Ad” under “Savings” at the bottom of the webpage.

The Exchange also offers contactless shopping options such as buy online pickup in store service and curbside pickup to make shopping easier for Airmen and others with in-store shopping privileges.

Honorably discharged veterans can shop online at Service-connected disabled veterans can shop in person. Veterans can visit to learn more.

This year marks the first season of holiday shopping for Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilian employees, who received shopping privileges this spring.

Share holiday stories for chance to win

Military shoppers with a memorable holiday moment to share can win $1,800 in Army & Air Force Exchange Service gift cards in the Mars-Wrigley Christmas Storybook Essay Contest.

To enter, authorized shoppers 18 and older can submit an essay about their favorite holiday memory at by Dec. 25. The grand-prize winner will receive a $1,000 Exchange gift card, while the runner-up will win a $500 gift card. Third place will receive a $300 gift card.

“The Exchange is honored to give warfighters and their families a chance to win great prizes by sharing their most treasured holiday memories,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, Exchange senior enlisted adviser. “This contest provides a platform for the worldwide military community to be heard and celebrated.”

Honorably discharged veterans and Department of Defense civilians with shopping privileges can enter, too. No purchase is necessary to win, and contestants need not be present to win. Winners will be selected on or about Jan. 3.

Win $1,000 in gift cards in Lindt Holiday Sweepstakes

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is making the holiday season sweeter by giving Warfighters and their families a chance to win $1,000 in Exchange gift cards in the Lindt Holiday Sweepstakes.

Through Dec. 23, authorized Exchange shoppers worldwide, including honorably discharged veterans, can visit to enter for a chance to win the grand prize – a $500 Exchange gift card. Two runners-up will each receive a $250 gift card.

“These prizes will sweeten the holiday season for our lucky winners,” said Osby, “but the sweetest reward for the Exchange is serving those who serve.”

Department of Defense civilians with shopping privileges can enter, too. No purchase is necessary to win. The drawing will take place on or about Jan. 3.

Own a business? Exchange Service wants you

Businesses large and small are growing their brands while making life better for Soldiers Airmen, Guardians and their families with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, the Department of Defense’s largest retailer.

“Businesses can grow with the Exchange, and together, we strengthen military communities,” Exchange Chief Operating Officer Jason Rosenberg told attendees at the Association of Defense Communities Installation Innovation Forum in San Antonio on Nov. 1.

Rosenberg and the Exchange’s Senior Vice President for Real Estate retired Air Force Col. Mike Smietana spoke at the Innovation Forum’s Reinvigorating Installation MWR breakout session, encouraging businesses – from name brands to start-ups – to join the Exchange’s ranks.

The Exchange is a launch pad for businesses of all sizes, including mall kiosks, micromarkets, storefronts like Grunt Style at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and food trucks – even a surf shop in Hawaii. Trending name-brand restaurants, like Slim Chickens, Qdoba and Hunt Brother Pizza, have grown because of their partnerships with the Exchange.

For example, Rosenberg said, the Exchange opened its first Hunt Brothers at Fort Hood’s III Corps Express in 2013. Since then, the brand has grown to more than 60 Exchange locations, with sales tracking to exceed $20 million in sales in 2021.

“This success demonstrates the power of what’s on the installation in terms of revenue and the opportunity the Exchange provides,” he said.

The Exchange is a partner in installation readiness and resiliency and fully nested with installation commands. In the last 10 years, the Exchange benefit has provided $3.4 billion in earnings for critical military quality-of-life programs such as outfitting 700,000 Warfighters at cost annually, providing school meal support for Department of Defense Education Activity facilities overseas and delivering needed services to locations impacted by natural disasters.

The Exchange, with a customer base of 33.5 million shoppers, operates in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, with more 3,600 mall stores, kiosks, wellness and personal services worldwide.

The Exchange supports multiple business models and offers businesses of all sizes unique opportunities to serve those who serve including:

  • Opportunities for veteran- and military spouse-owned small businesses
  • Proven environment for testing new products
  • Flexible leases and fees
  • Welcoming culture for entrepreneurs.

“We are always looking for partners and diversity,” Rosenberg said.

Retail wholesale businesses, long- and short-term concessions, personal services, vending and restaurant providers can find out more by visiting and clicking the “Doing Business with the Exchange” link under “About the Exchange” at the bottom of the page.

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