Opening presents, sampling holiday goodies (and maybe a glass of eggnog or two for the adults in the family), singing carols, making merry... these are the things that a typical Christmas Day are made of - at least in Hallmark movies.
But for all too many of us, 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.
To make the day a little less lonely for those who are spending the holidays alone, about 60-70 community volunteers will be spending their Christmas morning at Detroit Lakes' First Lutheran Church, preparing a homemade holiday feast fit for a king (or even the King of Kings): Baked ham with pork dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, lefse and pie (both pumpkin and apple), as well as an assortment of dessert bars and beverages - and all of it is free and open to the public.
Every year since 2004, the First Lutheran congregation has embraced all those in need of an extra infusion of holiday cheer by opening their doors and inviting the community at large to spend "Christmas at Our House."
"We served between 360-375 people last year," says the event's volunteer organizer, Jim McCormack - but that total includes more than just those who were able to come during the event's regular hours, which are between noon and 2 p.m.
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, McCormack explained.
"We will even deliver to people who are working so others can have the day off," he added. "We don't want to forget them."
Time is running out for the home delivered option, however: Those who want to request meal delivery must call the church's meal reservation line at 218-844-2808 no later than noon on Sunday, Dec. 23 - so that the volunteer drivers can get their names added to the list. When you call, be sure to leave your name, phone number, address, and the number of meals needed.
"You don't have to call if you're going to pick up a meal, but for delivery you need to call (before the deadline) 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.
Preparation for the home deliveries starts at about 11 a.m., McCormack noted, adding that about a third of all the meals served are home delivered.
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.