A northern Minnesota Christmas review

Bentleyville's "Joy to the World"

A sight from our trip to Bentleyville’s Festival of Lights in Duluth’s Bayfront Park last month.

Merry Christmas to my readers who celebrate this Christian holiday co-oped from ancient pagan solstice revelry. As Crudbump would remind us (NSFW) “it’s about respecting the holiday; you’ve gotta respect the holiday.” It’s time for another northern Minnesota Christmas and I’ll be taking a few days off from regular updates.

The boys and Santa Claus

My sons Henry, George and Douglas visited Santa Claus at Bentleyville in Duluth this year.

We’re settling into the part of the Christmas season that I actually enjoy — the gathering of family, the excitement of children, the reflection on the past year and our many blessings sprinkled amid the occasional hardship.

My site stats would indicate you’re not reading this. People are only using the internet right now to complain about their relatives via their data plan and ferociously hunt down “The Best Recipe for Fruitcake Using Things Found In a Rural Gas Station.” (And if you found this post looking for that via Google, apologies; you’re screwed).

But for those of you who do find your way here, I like to collect some of my favorite northern Minnesota Christmas writings and posts from past years. Enjoy! Stay tuned to MinnesotaBrown this week for my annual year-in-review and continuing coverage of modern life in northern Minnesota.

My last column tells the story of the year Santa Claus visited my grandparents’ home south of Eveleth early one Christmas Eve. We all know Santa comes on Christmas Eve, but no one expects him to just walk through the front door unannounced during the party.

Feeling holiday stress? Last year’s column “So This is Christmas” has you covered.

The Great Northern Radio Show holiday specials are running on Northern Community Radio during the holidays. On Christmas Eve you can hear the Bigfork show from 2012 from 2-4 p.m. This is a special tribute to Marshal Oelmann, who portrayed Earl the Failed Cowboy who Saves Christmas, who passed away this year. On Christmas, hear our latest show from Fosston at the same time, 2-4 p.m.

Last year I posted a series reviewing the classic 1988 Will Vinton Claymation Christmas special, including the California Raisins, singing camels, ice dancing walruses (and murderous penguins), an incompetent bell and more.

Still the funniest Christmas song I’ve ever heard: Porky Pig singing “Blue Christmas.”

Everyone knows “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” In 2011, I 
updated this cherished old poem for the Information Age

Here’s my strange story about Christmas Trees. Before there were blogs, there was what I did every Christmas Eve to mark time before we could open presents.

Coming home for Christmas? There’s something about returning to your family, your traditions, your ghosts that requires real courage. This 2010 piece explores that feeling.

Hey, remember the Bush Administration? I know, right? In 2006 I wrote a piece detailing a run-in between Santa Claus and a heightened terror alert. Don’t worry, kids. Santa came to play.

Did you know how strange the story of St. Nicholas was? I found out.

What happens when Santa gets it wrong? It’s an under-reported aspect of the  Christmas story.

And, of course, Bob Dylan’s version of “Must Be Santa,” which I keep on my playlist all year long. The video is a special treat, especially for those who have attended wild holiday party’s or have a family like mine.

Christmas Concert

I’m coming to rather enjoy the annual Christmas programs, even the recorders and stilted acting. I hold dim memories of doing an old fashioned Russian dance as part of a Christmas program when I was elementary school. I always wanted a speaking role, but never got one.

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