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Members of First Lutheran Church volunteer to hold the annual Christmas day dinner, called “Christmas at Our House.” The meal is free and open to the public, beginning at noon and going until 2 p.m. The annual event has been going for 13 years as a way to ensure area residents don’t have to spend Christmas alone. SUBMITTED PHOTO

First Lutheran hosts holiday dinner

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First Lutheran hosts holiday dinner
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

It isn’t called “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing, but for some, Christmas can be lonely if family isn’t around.

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That’s why folks at First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes are once again holding their annual Christmas dinner, called Christmas At Our House.

“It was a dream of someone’s years ago that no one should have to spend Christmas alone,” explained event coordinator Twylla Vickmark, who says the event has remained popular in Detroit Lakes for about a decade.

“We cook for 300, and we usually don’t have much for leftovers,” she said.

The dinner goes from noon to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day at First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.

A traditional holiday meal will be served up, including ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, lefse and pumpkin and apple pie.

The meal is free of charge, and can even be delivered to those who are not as able to get out for the event.

“We deliver a lot to assisted living, shut-ins or just people who for whatever reason have a tougher time getting out,” said Vickmark, adding that volunteers will only deliver within city limits.

“And we’d really like if they could call and reserve a meal by noon on Christmas Eve,” she said. A separate number has been set up for those reservations at 844-2808.

Even though the event is held on Christmas Day, Vickmark says they are never shorthanded, as church members and community members seem more than willing to pitch in.

“It’s just a response from the congregation,” she said. “It’s put in the bulletin that Christmas at Our House is coming, and the help is unbelievable.”

Vickmark says for her, volunteering for the dinner gives her a sense of appreciation and accomplishment that always makes her feel good.

“I feel very fortunate in knowing that I have family close by and don’t have to spend chrismal alone, and so for me it’s a very fulfilling thing,” she said, adding that the people she has worked beside for all these years also make this event successful.

“One of our church members, Jim McCormick, has been beside me for eight years doing this,” said Vickmark, “and it just makes all the difference when you have people who you know are going to get things done.”

Vickmark says local residents coming in for the Christmas dinner tend to be singles or couples who don’t have family around to spend Christmas with, but they will also see some young families.

“And we do have Santa showing up, too,” she added.

Vickmark says the event has a warm, cozy feel to it, as some stay around after the dinner to visit with people.

“I think it does bring people together,” she said. “We get so many different people here from very young to very old,” she said, “but I get so wrapped up in the emotion of it all; I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

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