-- The Freemans, a family of five from Bradenton, Fla., had just one request this Christmas: to go home for the holidays.
"In the age of Facebook we get to keep in contact, but it's nothing like hugging them," Carina Freeman, 34, told "Good Morning America" of her family back in her hometown of Salem, New Jersey.
"I really miss my family," she said.
"It was really, really financially hard," Carina Freeman said. "He got honorably discharged but he didn't get any of the pension or any of that because he did 12 years. We had to live with his mother, all five of us in one room, because we couldn't even afford the down payment for a home."
The family's financial struggles also meant they could not return to New Jersey to visit what Freeman calls her "huge, huge, huge family." Freeman's mother, Holly, is one of 21 kids.
"I haven't seen them in six years," she said.
"GMA" surprised the family with the news that they would be flying back to Salem this year to spend Christmas with Freeman's family.
"My mom's going to cry," Freeman said.
"They're criers," added her husband. "Everybody's going to cry."
The Freemans boarded a plane from Florida to New Jersey to greet Freeman's family, 60 of whom had gathered together for what they thought was just a regular family dinner.
Instead, the entire family was brought outside to see the Freemans pulling up to the house in a horse-drawn carriage.
In the midst of tears and hugs, Freeman's mother, Holly, said it meant "a whole lot" to have her daughter home.