For many people, Christmas is a day to be spent with family and friends, opening presents, sneaking pieces of ham or turkey before it's ready, sampling holiday goodies (and a glass of eggnog or two), and generally making merry.
But for others, it's a time when they're stuck working that extra holiday shift, have had their travel plans unexpectedly canceled, or are just spending the day alone, for whatever reason. That's where Detroit Lakes' First Lutheran Church has stepped in: Every year since 2004, the congregation has embraced all those in need of an extra infusion of holiday cheer by opening their doors and inviting the community to spend "Christmas at Our House."
This Monday, Dec. 25, about 60-70 volunteers will get up early and head on over to the church to start making a homemade holiday feast fit for a king: Baked ham with pork dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, lefse, and pie - both pumpkin and apple. Coffee, milk and lemonade will also be served - and all of it is free and open to the public.
For those who are unable to make it to the church during the feast, home delivery is also available to all those living within the Detroit Lakes city limits.
"By 11 a.m. we will be busy getting meals ready to go for our home deliveries," says the event's volunteer organizer, Jim McCormack, adding that about a third of all the meals they serve are home delivered. "People can also request take-out... and we will deliver to people who are working so others can have the day off. We don't want to forget them."
The only requirement for those who want to request meal delivery is that they call the church's meal reservation line at 218-844-2808 by noon on Saturday, Dec. 23.
"You don't have to call if you're going to pick up a meal, but for delivery you need to call no later than Saturday noon so we can organize all the drivers we're going to need," said McCormack, adding that delivery is restricted to within the city limits because otherwise, the meal would be cold by the time it reached the recipient's door.
Despite the increasing popularity of the home-delivered and take-home options, the feast at the church typically draws anywhere between 300-400 people.
The dinner will begin promptly at noon in the church fellowship hall at 912 Lake Ave., and serving continues until 2 p.m. For more information, please call the church office at 218-847-5656.