By Starrla Cray
McLEOD, CARVER, WRIGHT, MEEKER COUNTIES, MN Local people with “Christmas names” have told about their holiday traditions and memories.
Learn how others celebrate, and maybe even pick up a few ideas to use at your own family get-togethers.
Jeffrey and Maribeth Frost
Jeff and Maribeth have one son, Joel, and one child on the way. Before Joel was born, friends had joked that they should name him “Jack Frost.”
“Of course, we would never do that,” Maribeth laughed. The last name “Frost” is easy to joke about, especially with Minnesota’s frosty winter weather. Maribeth said that when there’s frost on the car, people will say, “Frost on the car? Oh, wait, you’re in the car.”
The Frost family takes advantage of Minnesota winters by playing in the snow and ice skating together.
Roland Starry is 87 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him from contributing to the community. He’s a cartoonist for the Delano Herald Journal, and also draws for the senior building where he lives. During the Christmas season, he enjoys creating a special drawing that is displayed in the lobby area.
In years past, Starry often dressed up as Santa, but he isn’t planning to do that this year. Instead, he plans to spend Christmas at his daughter Carolyn’s house in Edina. Starry has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Kim and Dean Winter
Kim and Dean Winter enjoy the season that their last name represents.
Dean often goes ice fishing, but he enjoys summer activities such as golfing, as well.
“I like the change of seasons,” his wife, Kim, said.
When people ask the Winters how to spell their last name, their answer is simple. “It’s like Old Man Winter,” Kim tells them.
For Christmas, Kim and Dean like to spend time with their family. Dean’s mother lives in Iowa, and Kim’s mother is in a nursing home in Dassel.
of Lester Prairie
Hope Feltmann, a fifth grader at Lester Prairie Elementary School, loves to go sledding and snowboarding at Christmastime.
Last Christmas, one of her favorite presents was a “High School Musical” themed stool from Santa.
“We hang out at Grandma’s,” Hope said of her Christmas traditions. Hope especially enjoys eating the homemade sourdough cookies her grandmother makes.
Hope’s favorite Christmas carol is “Up on the Housetop,” because she sang it at her school concert.
of Howard Lake
Each year, Gloria Bobrowske looks forward to the advent brunch at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake. “It sets the mood for the Christmas season,” she said.
Music also helps create a Christmastime atmosphere. “I enjoy all the Christmas carols, especially the religious ones,” Gloria said.
On Christmas Eve, Gloria and her family attend church, then gather for a family meal and the opening of gifts. Gloria has five children and eight grandchildren. If weather allows, Gloria also goes to visit her 93-year-old mother in South Dakota.
Wayne and Jody Snow
In the Wayne and Jody Snow family, Christmastime is full of activity. “We shop until we drop, and we go to a lot of family parties,” Jody said. Haley, 13, Brayden, 11, and Cassondra, 8, also enjoy helping bake cookies. The day after Thanksgiving, they baked 14 different kinds and delivered them to neighbors. “We always cut our own Christmas tree,” Jody added, and they also participate in a Christmas program at church each year. Jody said the family likes having the last name “Snow,” but wouldn’t want the real snow to last all year. “We’re always waiting for the snow, and once it comes, we’re praying for spring,” she said.
Holly and Steven Williams
Homemade Christmas cookies, fudge, chocolate turtles, and candy wreaths are all part of Holly Williams’ Christmas traditions.
“Every year, my daughter and I make Christmas cookies and candy,” Holly said.
Holly and her husband, Steven, have two teenaged children, Taylor and Matthew.
For Christmas, the family attends church at Holy Trinity in Winsted and goes to visit relatives. On Christmas Eve, their relatives have a man dressed as Santa who hands out presents for the children.
of Lester Prairie
Faith Pawelk, a fourth grader at Trinity Lutheran School in Waconia, is the daughter of Fred and Heidi. Her siblings are Nate and Elizabeth. For Christmas, Faith said she visits family in Wisconsin and in Lester Prairie.
“Before Christmas, we make cookies, and of course, we go shopping,” she said. “One Christmas, we went to see a movie all together.”
When asked about her favorite Christmas gift, she replied, “I like all my presents.” Faith also likes to listen to Christmas songs. “I like ‘Silent Night’, because the words are really cool,” she said.
Daryl and Teresa Frost
Daryl and Teresa Frost have fond memories of picking out Christmas trees when their children, Amanda, Hannah, Sarah, and Nathan, were younger.
“It’d take us half a day to vote on the tree,” Teresa laughed. “My daughter Hannah always wanted the Charlie Brown tree. She felt bad for it.”
The tree decorations are also part of their yearly tradition. “Each year, everybody gets a new Christmas ornament,” Teresa said. By the time the children leave home, they have several ornaments to decorate their own trees, she explained.
Joseph and Holly Neaton
of Lester Prairie
The family of Holly and Joseph Neaton spreads Christmas cheer to friends, neighbors, and relatives with homemade Christmas cookies. “I will probably do close to 20 dozen by the time I’m done,” said Holly, whose favorite is sugar cookies. Holly sometimes gets “help” with the cookies from her daughters Charlie, 2, and Cori, 4 months.
The family also likes to play outside together. “We have a big hill in the front yard, so we like to go sledding,” Holly said.
Mary Magdalene Purcell’s family has a unique and charitable way of celebrating Christmas. Mary purchases gifts through local fundraisers and benefits, and the family has an “auction” amongst themselves for the items.
“They have a blast with it,” Mary said. “They’re very competitive.” Mary and her husband, Tim, provide some of the money for the auction.
Daughter, Kirstina, and son and daughter-in-law, Jon and Katie, also pitch in. After the auction, the money goes to charity. “We decide, as a family, where we want to donate the money,” Mary said. As for Christmas gifts, Mary said they’ve opted for the practical route, and it’s not uncommon to have paper towels, tinfoil, and other necessities under the tree.
Christmas time is pizza time at the Janikula household.
“One tradition our immediate family has after church on Christmas Eve is ‘make your own pizzas,’” Gloria said. She has four sons, Andy, Mark, Rod, and Kent, who are all adults. Gloria also has three grandchildren. They started the pizza tradition so that everyone could be in the kitchen together.
When Gloria was a child, one Christmas gift that stood out in her mind was a kitchen set. “Now, I wonder why,” she laughed. Gloria’s favorite Christmas carols include “The Little Drummer Boy” and “O Holy Night.”