First Lutheran's 'Christmas At Our House' set for Dec. 25 in Detroit Lakes
For more than 20 years now, the congregation of Detroit Lakes' First Lutheran Church has opened its doors on Christmas Day for a holiday ham dinner, free and open to the public.
DETROIT LAKES — Are you going to be celebrating Christmas alone this year? Did your travel plans for the holiday suddenly get canceled or postponed?
Detroit Lakes' First Lutheran Church has you covered. For more than 20 years now, the First Lutheran congregation has opened its church doors to the community on Dec. 25 for a special "Christmas At Our House" dinner that is free and open to the public.
There are three options for enjoying the church's holiday dinner this year: In person, takeout or delivery (with the latter option only available for those living within Detroit Lakes city limits). The public can begin lining up for in-person or takeout dining at noon on Christmas day; for at-home delivery, however, reservations must be made before noon on Dec. 23. Serving will continue until 2 p.m. on Christmas day. Even if you're planning on taking advantage of the in-person or takeout options, however, an RSVP is requested (not required), especially for large groups.
"It's open to everyone," whether they're church members or not, explained Mackenzie Hamm, First Lutheran's support ministry coordinator. "But it's nice if people can call to make reservations, so we know about how many to plan for. It's helpful."
Individuals unable to leave their homes may request meal delivery service by calling the Church Reservation Line at 218-844-2808. Orders for delivery must be received by noon on Dec 23. "If you miss that cutoff, please come for a to-go meal or dine-in," Hamm added. When the voice message system picks up, callers should leave their name, address, phone number, number of meals and the meal delivery option chosen (dine-in, pickup or delivery) on the recording.
Hamm noted that there are "at least 50" church members and staff who volunteer to prepare the dinner, with the prep work starting on Christmas Eve and continuing early on Christmas morning. "Most of our workers show up around 10 or 11 a.m.," Hamm said, with only a handful involved in the early prep work. The meal, which features ham, potatoes, corn, stuffing, lefse, pie and a beverage of choice (usually coffee or water), is prepared fresh on the day of the event.
In a typical year, the dinner will draw approximately 200 in-person and take-home diners, Hamm said, with about the same number of meals prepared for delivery — or roughly 400 in total.
Those who request meal delivery are asked to be at home by 11:30 a.m. on Christmas day, and stay until the food is dropped off, she added.
"There's no cost," Hamm said. "It is our gift to the community."