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Holiday Lifestyle

Guide II

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D2 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Holiday festivities fill event calendar T

he holiday season brings many special festivities. From family gatherings to school concerts and church programs, there are many events in which people may choose to participate. Listed are several concerts, festivals and other public activities set for the coming weeks.

Today-Dec. 27  The Roger Mitteness farm south of Benson welcomes you to drive in and see the holiday lights up close between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. daily. A mailbox is available for comments; any money donated will go to Busy Go Getters 4-H club that helped put up the lights. The address is 525 20th Ave. S.E.; four miles south of Benson on Highway 29, turn left on 50th Avenue, go one mile east and turn onto 20th Avenue.

Today-Jan. 2  The Gralish’s outdoor Santa’s Workshop/Toys for Tots light display is open from dusk until 10 p.m. daily at 20955 115 St. N.E., New London. It’s located just off of State Highway 23, about four miles north of New London near Long Lake. Take a right off Highway 23 at 115 Street Northeast. The display is on the left side of the road. There is a huge toy box collecting toys for Toys for Tots.

Today-Jan. 7  The 10th and final “Celebrate the Light of the World” fundraiser for the Salvation Army will be open from 4:30 to 11 p.m. daily at the Chad and Angela Koosman home, 3903 60th Ave. N.E., Willmar; take Kandiyohi County Road 9 out past Willmar High School to the corner of County Road 9 and County Road 26. There will be two drive-in movies at 6:30 p.m.: “The Elf” on Dec. 1 and “Alvin and the Chipmunks” on Dec. 2 followed immediately by fireworks. On Dec. 9 from 4 to 8 p.m. visit Santa’s Den for photographs, along with cookie decorating and carolers. The lights will run all night on Christmas Eve.

Today-Dec. 3  The Barn Theatre presents “ A Christmas Story” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater in downtown Willmar; $20 for adults and $10 for students. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, call 320-235-9500; 321 Fourth St. S.W., Willmar.  Calvary Lutheran Church, 302 Olena Ave., in Willmar presents its Advent Festival, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come,” from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; free admission.  The fourth annual Holiday Soirée at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pairs festive food with seasonal music in “Sounds of the Season.” The Music Department choirs and chamber ensembles will present a festive meal with dinner entertainment in Oyate Hall, Student Center, followed by the concert in Recital Hall, Humanities Fine Arts building. Saturday’s meal is at 6 p.m. and the concert at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday the meal is at 12:30 p.m. and the concert at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at or 320-5896077. Meal tickets are $15, concert tickets are $5 adults, seniors $4, 12 and under/UMM students $3.

Dec. 2  Green Lake Lutheran Ministries presents a Christmas dinner theater “The Star” at 5:30 p.m. at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer; $40 per person, call the camp for reservations at 320-796-2181.  The 24th annual “Christmas at Trinity” will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grove City. There will be a cookie walk, crafts, baked goods and ethnic goodies for sale. Brunch will be served. The church is located at 54384 U.S. Highway 12 East, Grove City.  The second annual Sensitive Santa Breakfast will be from 9 to 11 a.m. at West Central Industries for families with children age birth to 30 years

in both Norwegian and English and traditional refreshments. Pastor Ron Knutson will bring the message. The church, located at the intersection of County Road 40 and 99th Street Northwest near Norway Lake, is not heated. Dress warmly and bring a blanket for added comfort.  A Christmas choir concert will be at 3 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church in New London to benefit the Link. The concert will feature the choirs from New London and Spicer area churches. Donations to the Link will be accepted.

Dec. 4

with special needs, sensory issues and social skill challenges; $5 per family, limited seating, pre-registration required, call 320-235-5310, ext. 206.  “A Rockin’ 1950s Christmas in the Village” will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Historic Chippewa City, located at the junctions of Highways 7 and 59 in Montevideo. It will feature horse-drawn rides, candy and bake sales, crafters, Santa Claus, old-fashioned radio show, lunch line and the decorated village. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 12-17 and children 11 and under admitted free.  The 22nd annual Pioneer Christmas will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Forest City Stockade. Admission is $5, ages 12 and under will be admitted free. Have a wagon or sleigh ride, visit with Santa, see a winter Native American encampment with teepee, wall

 The Willmar grades 7-12 orchestras will present a concert at 6 p.m. at the high school.  The Willmar Senior High band will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.  Rice Hospice will host the annual Share a Memory tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. in the Garden Court at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Additional ceremonies will be held in Appleton, Benson, Dawson, Granite Falls, Montevideo and Ortonville.  The West Central Connection Chorus presents a tent and A-frame; tour the historic buildings, pioneer crafts Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. and demonstrations. A variety at the Willmar Community of food will be available. Dress Center. All ages are encouraged warmly as many of the activ- to attend this free concert. ities will be outdoors. Forest Dec. 4-8 City is north of Litchfield in  The “Festive Forest” at Meeker County.  Bake sales will be from 11 the Kandiyohi County Historia.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall cal Society Museum, 610 Busiin Willmar; churches, schools, ness Highway 71 N.E. in Willnonprofit groups and organi- mar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and orgazations are participating. nizations. The display will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday Dec. 3  The annual Advent tea through Friday. will be at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Benson. The program is “Journey to Bethlehem Then and Now” with music by Trinity Senior Choir and Bell Choir. Refreshments will be served by the St. Lucia girls.  A pioneer Advent service will be at 2 p.m. in the Old Log Church of New London with an old-fashioned hymn sing

Dec. 4-9

 Fifth annual Indoor Christmas Tree Walk, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 7 p.m. on Thursday and closes at 4 p.m. Saturday, Lyon County Museum, 301 W. Lyon St., Marshall. The trees were decorated by area businesses and nonprofit HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES: Page D3

West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D3


Dec. 7-10

 The 64th annual Lucia Day Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church, 411 Becker Ave. S.W., in Willmar. The St. Lucia Lighting ceremony will be at 9 a.m., followed by coffee and music. Holiday baked goods for sale.  The Dickens Christmas will begin at 9:15 a.m. and have activities into the evening in New London. There will be carolers roaming downtown, kids activities, a free showing of the classic 1935 holiday movie “Scrooge” at 9:15 at the Little Theatre, Victorian High Tea and more.  Bake sales will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall in Willmar; churches, schools, nonprofit groups and organizations are participating.  The Holiday Express 18-Wheeler presented by the Dec. 8-9 Kandiyohi Men’s Club and the  The 32nd annual Springfield Nativity Pageant will be Atwater Chamber will make at 7 p.m. at Riverside Park in five stops tonight. The schedule Springfield. The live pageant is 5:15 p.m. at the Lake Region is presented outdoors and fea- Bank in Sunburg, 6 p.m. on tures a community choir and Central Avenue in New London, a live manger scene including 6:45 p.m. at the Green Lake camels. Dress for the weather. Mall in Spicer, 7:30 p.m. at the Admission is free.

 The Barn Theatre presents “ A Christmas Story” at organizations, vote for your 7:30 p.m. Thursday through favorite tree or trees by placing Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday money in the present next to at the theater in downtown Willmar; adults $20 and stuthe tree. dents $10. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, Dec. 5  The Minnesota Gover- call 320-235-9500; 321 Fourth nor’s Residence will be open St. S.W. for public tours from 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8 to 12:30 p.m. No reservations  The Holiday Express are required as the tours will 18-Wheeler presented by the be filled on a first-come, first- Kandiyohi Men’s Club and served basis. the Atwater Chamber will make four stops tonight. The Dec. 6 schedule is 5:30 p.m. at the  “Festival of Nine Lessons Cosmos Legion parking lot, 7 and Carols” will be presented p.m. in front of Kinsella Chiat 6:30 p.m. by the choir at ropractic in Litchfield, 7:45 Trinity Lutheran Church, 220 S. p.m. at the Grove City Fire Hall 13th St., in Montevideo. It will and 8:15 p.m. at the Atwater be followed by an evening tea. Community Center. From Page D2

Dec. 7  The Christmas Voices of Renville County will present a Christmas Cantata at 7 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church in Olivia. “And It Came to Pass … Emmanuel” will be performed by over 50 people from throughout Renville County under the direction of Deb Rath. Freewill donation will go to Santa’s Closet and the Renville County Food Shelf; refreshments to follow the program.  The Holiday Express 18-Wheeler presented by the Kandiyohi Men’s Club and the Atwater Chamber will make four stops tonight. The schedule is 5:30 p.m. at the Lake Lillian Fire Hall, 6:15 p.m. at the Blomkest Fire Hall, 7:15 p.m. at the Raymond Community Center and 8:15 p.m. at the Pennock Community Center.

Dec. 8-10 * Green Lake Lutheran Ministries presents a Christmas dinner theater “The Star” at 5:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer; $40 per person, call the camp for reservations at 320-796-2181.

Dec. 9  The Willmar GEMS girls club will have a bake sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rock of Life Christian Reformed Church in Willmar.

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 The “Festive Forest” at Dec. 13 the Kandiyohi County Histori Michael Nelson will prescal Society Museum, 610 Busi- ent a holiday piano concert ness Highway 71 N.E. in Will- at 1:30 p.m. at the Willmar mar, shows holiday trees creHOLIDAY FESTIVITIES: Page D4 ated by local clubs and orga-


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 Fifth annual Indoor Christmas Tree Walk, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 7 p.m. on Thursday and closes at 4 p.m. Saturday, Lyon County Museum, 301 W. Lyon St., Marshall. Dec. 10 The trees were decorated by  The Copper Street Brass area businesses and nonprofQuintet presents “Christmas it organizations, vote for your on Copper Street” at 4 pm. at the Memorial Auditorium in favorite tree or trees by placing Dawson; adults $15, students money in the present next to $5, available online at www. the tree., calling Dec. 12 320-312-2311 or at the door.  The Minnesota GoverDec. 11 nor’s Residence will be open for  The Willmar Senior High public tours from 5 to 7 p.m. No choirs will present identical reservations are required as the concerts at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at tours will be filled on a firstthe high school. come, first-served basis.

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Kandiyohi Civic Center and 8:15 the YMCA in Willmar.  The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents “Star of Bethlehem” star show and a Christmas laser show at 7 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5; www.

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D4 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.


nonprofit groups and organizations are participating.  The annual Christmas Community Center; $2 at the program will be held at the Historic Salem Community Church, door, all ages welcome. four miles north of Paynesville. Sleigh rides with real reindeer Dec. 14-17  The 53rd annual night of will be given from 3 to 4:15 p.m., music, “Two from Galilee,” will followed by the program at 4:30 be presented at 7 p.m. Thurs- p.m. Refreshments will be served day through Saturday with 3 following the program. Bring a p.m. matinees on Saturday and non-perishable food item for the Paynesville Community Center; Sunday at the Assembly of God freewill donation. Church in Willmar. Tickets are  The Southwest Minnesofree, but required, and available ta State University planetarium at the church, Good News Bookpresents “Star of Bethlehem” store, Dunn Brothers Coffee star show and a Christmas laser Shop or on the church website show at 7 p.m. The A freewill ium, located in SM 108 on the offering will benefit the Kandi- Marshall campus, seats 82 peoyohi County Area Food Shelf. ple. Admission is $5; www.smsu. edu/planetarium. Dec. 15  The Dawson-Boyd Arts  The Willmar Pub- Association present Christmas lic Library will have “Holiday classics of Andy Williams and Cookies and Holiday Hearts, Bing Crosby at 7:30 p.m. in That’s the Way the Season Memorial Auditorium in DawStarts” story hour from 10 to 11 son; adults $25, students $10 a.m. for children of all ages and available online at www.dawtheir families. Celebrate the, calling 320holidays with stories, crafts, 312-2311 or at the door. singing and a treat. No regisDec. 18-22 tration necessary.  The “Festive Forest” at Dec. 16 the Kandiyohi County Histori Bake sales will be from 11 cal Society Museum, 610 Busia.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall ness Highway 71 N.E. in Willin Willmar; churches, schools, mar, shows holiday trees creFrom Page D3

ated by local clubs and orga- Norwegian sweaters and/or nizations. The display will be bunads are asked to wear them. open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday Dec. 22-24 through Friday.  The Southwest MinnesoDec. 18-23 ta State University planetarium  Fifth annual Indoor presents “Star of Bethlehem” Christmas Tree Walk, 10 a.m. star show and a Christmas laser to 5 p.m. daily, until 7 p.m. on show at 7 p.m. Friday and SatThursday and closes at 4 p.m. urday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Saturday, Lyon County Museum, planetarium, located in SM 108 301 W. Lyon St., Marshall. The on the Marshall campus, seats trees were decorated by area 82 people. Admission is $5; businesses and nonprofit orga- nizations, vote for your favorite tree or trees by placing money Dec. 25  Christmas in the Barn in the present next to the tree. at Dale and Debbie Tonsfeldt, Dec. 19 13200 15th Street Southeast,  The Minnesota Gover- Blomkest. The 9:30 a.m. Svea nor’s Residence will be open Lutheran Church service will for public tours from 10:30 a.m. include singing and a live to 12:30 p.m. No reservations nativity. Everyone is welcome, are required as the tours will please dress warmly. be filled on a first-come, firstDec. 26-29 served basis.  The “Festive Forest” at Dec. 22 the Kandiyohi County Histori The annual Lillejulaften cal Society Museum, 610 Busi(Little Christmas Eve) Norwe- ness Highway 71 N.E. in Willgian language worship service mar, shows holiday trees crewill be at 7 p.m. at Calvary ated by local clubs and orgaLutheran Church, 302 Olena nizations. The display will be Ave. in Willmar. The service open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday will feature Norwegian scrip- through Friday. ture readings, prayers and songs. The service folder will Dec. 26-30  Fifth annual Indoor be in Norwegian with a full English translation. Those with Christmas Tree Walk, 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m. daily, until 7 p.m. on Thursday and closes at 4 p.m. Saturday, Lyon County Museum, 301 W. Lyon St., Marshall. The trees were decorated by area businesses and nonprofit organizations, vote for your favorite tree or trees by placing money in the present next to the tree.

Dec. 27

 The Willmar Public Library will have Christmas Crafts from 4 to 5 p.m. for children kindergarten through fifth grade. Christmas crafts will be available in the children’s area of the library.

Dec. 31

 A New Year’s Eve Celebration will be from 1:30 to 7 p.m. at the Willmar Community Center. Rob Boyd Jazz Quartet will start the celebration at 1:30 with holiday music. There will be a barn dance at 3:30 with Maggie Harp as the caller. A barbeque supper will be served at 5 p.m. followed by games and crafts and more. Ring in the New Year at 7 p.m. with the residents of Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland.

try to book, the more likely they are to get a favorable itinerary. Travel experts vary with

regard to when is the best time to book a flight, but travelers who try to book early and are willing to book indirect flights might find the most affordable deals, regardless of how far away from their desired travel date they book their trips.  Pack meals. Drivers can save time and money by packing their own meals when traveling for the holidays. Rest stop eateries tend to be overcrowded during the busy holiday traveling season, and such restaurants may not provide many choices for health-conscious travelers. Bringing along their own

to the same area to share a ride home. Traveling in pairs or groups can make long trips less monotonous and more affordable, as drivers and their passengers can split the cost of fuel and tolls. Men and women can offer to pick up relatives who live along the way to their destinations so no one has to drive unnecessarily.  Book early. Travelers taking to the air or railways for their holiday traveling should try to book their plans as early as possible. The earlier travelers


or many people, no holiday season is complete without traveling. While traveling might not be as fun a holiday tradition as decking the halls or exchanging gifts with loved ones, there are ways for travelers to make their Christmastime excursions more enjoyable and affordable.  Don’t go it alone. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 91 percent of holiday travel is done by personal vehicle, such as a car. College students driving home for semester holiday breaks can invite fellow students heading

How to make holiday travel more enjoyable and affordable

meals allows drivers to adhere to their personal diets and eat foods that won’t make them drowsy on the road. Simply eat in the car during stops to assuage hunger.  Travel during off-peak hours. Drivers who can muster the energy to begin their trips before sunrise can get a head start on the millions of others heading home for the holidays. Kids can sleep in the backseat during early morning hours, making the trips less taxing on youngsters. Less time spent in traffic can also conserve fuel, saving drivers money. Metro Creative Connections

West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D5

Metro Creative Connections

ward to at the onset of the shopping day. Such a break also gives everyone, moms and dads included, a chance to get off their feet and catch their breath. When the meal is over, promise kids a trip to get some ice cream or hot chocolate at the end of the day so they once again have something to look forward to.  Schedule some fun time. While parents pressed for time might not have much time to do anything but shop, kids are likely to grow impatient if the day does not include at least one fun distraction. Look for malls or shopping centers that feature fun things for kids to do, such as carousel rides or visits with Santa Claus. While this might require parents to spend more time at the mall or shopping center than they


initially hoped, it can help keep kids engaged while giving them something fun to do at the same time. Parents who must take their kids along on holiday shopping excursions can take steps to make such trips fun for all involved. Metro Creative Connections

Shopping online may be convenient, but more traditional holiday shopping still affords shoppers the chance to find great deals, especially at the last minute.

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oliday shopping has changed considerably since the dawn of the Information Age. Whereas holiday shopping once required shoppers to spend hours perusing stores at the local mall, nowadays many shoppers get the bulk of their shopping done online. Shopping online may be convenient, but more traditional holiday shopping still affords shoppers the chance to find great deals, especially at the last minute. Parents may prefer to leave the kids at home when holiday shopping, but sometimes they don’t have a choice. Fortunately, there are ways to manage holiday shopping trips with kids in tow.  Encourage kids to create shopping lists. Keeping kids engaged on holiday shopping trips can be difficult, especially when shopping at stores that tend to draw crowds and long lines. But parents can engage youngsters by encouraging them to create their own holiday shopping lists for family members and then helping them find those gifts at the mall or wherever they plan to do their holiday shopping. Let kids bring their lists along and check off gifts as they purchase them.  Let kids do their own shopping. In addition to creating lists, let kids do their own shopping, including paying for gifts they purchase for loved ones. Kids might be more interested when holiday shopping if they’re allowed to peruse stores for potential gifts and then purchase gifts with their own money.  Break up shopping excursions with a meal. Kids enjoy dining out, even if their preferences lean more toward chicken fingers than steak au poivre. By breaking up shopping excursions with meals out on the town, parents can give kids something to look for-

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D6 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.


dults and children alike are familiar with the tale of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” As the lyrics of the song illustrate: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose / And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. Popularized by the song written by Johnny Marks and sung by Gene Autry, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer dates back to 1939. A copywriter named Robert L. May created the story of the misfit reindeer in 1939 when working for Montgomery Ward. The retail giant was producing marketing holiday coloring books for children and wanted to come up with a clever character. Although Rudolph is now beloved, May’s original ideas included Rollo and Reginald. Also, Rudolph’s famed red nose almost didn’t come to be.

Because a red nose at the time was viewed as a sign of alcoholism, Montgomery Ward was hesitant to be on board with the bulbous, red snoot. A blue nose was considered, but later changed. In its first year of publication, Montgomery Ward had distributed 2.4 million copies of Rudolph’s story. The catchy tune came thereafter, followed by a cartoon short in 1948. In 1964, the stop-motion animated television special further propelled Rudolph to celebrity and became the most recognizable Rudolph adaption. Today, Rudolph is known across the globe as the reindeer responsible for navigating Santa’s sleigh through tricky weather on Christmas Eve. He continues to be loved by many, young and old. Metro Creative Connections

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D7


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D8 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Things to consider before giving pets as gifts


he blissful image of a young child or a significant other receiving a pet as a holiday gift compels many shoppers to give pets as gifts come Christmastime. But pets are unlike any other holiday gift, as pets are living things that require food, shelter and attention. Because pets are unlike video games, diamond pendants and other popular holiday gifts, shoppers must consider a host of factors before deciding whether or not to give pets as gifts this holiday season.

Living situation Shoppers who plan to give a pet to someone they don’t live with, whether that person is a niece or nephew or a girlfriend or boyfriend, should first consider and/or confirm the recipients’ living situation. Landlords may forbid apartment dwellers from having pets, so it’s best to confirm with your loved one whether his or her lease allows pets before adopting or buying the animal. If you don’t want to spoil the surprise or you cannot confirm if a loved one’s living situation is pet-friendly, don’t adopt or buy the animal.

If you don’t want to spoil the surprise or you cannot confirm if a loved one’s living situation is petfriendly, don’t adopt or buy the animal.

gift givers who intend to give their loved ones a dog should still confirm if the recipient has a dog allergy before adopting or purchasing the animal. The AAFA also warns against looking for pets that are described as “hypoallergenic.” Allergies While some people are more Some people, including many sensitive to certain breeds of who profess to love pets, cannot cats and dogs than others, there have pets of their own because is no guarantee that a particuof allergies. According to the lar breed of cat or dog will not Asthma and Allergy Foundation cause an allergic reaction. of America, as many as three in 10 people in the United States Timing have pet allergies. There are good times to give Cat allergies are twice as pets as gifts, while other times common as dog allergies, but can be tough.

Metro Creative Connections Pets need time and routine to acclimate to their new environments, so avoid giving a new pet to a family about to embark on a lengthy holiday vacation. Families staying home for the holidays and taking time off from school or work may be most capable of welcoming a furry new addition into their homes. If you want to give a loved one a pet for the holidays, delay giving the gift until things have returned to post-holiday normalcy.

Finances Pets can be expensive, especially in the first year. Accord-

ing to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the first-year cost of owning a dog is nearly $1,300, while the first-year cost of cat ownership exceeds $1,000.

Pets can make for wonderful gifts. But such gifts should only be given after careful consideration of a host of factors.

These estimates include the cost of food, shelter and medical exams, among other things. Before giving a pet to a child, consult the child’s parents to determine if the family can afford adding a pet to the family. If parents need some financial help to afford the pet, include supplies like bowls, leashes and toys in your holiday gift. Pets can make for wonderful gifts. But such gifts should only be given after careful consideration of a host of factors. Metro Creative Connections

West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D9

Be prepared for unexpected company T he latter part of the year is full of social engagements with family and friends. Pew Research Center says 92 percent of all Americans plan to celebrate Christmas as a holiday, with 69 percent using it as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. While many social occasions surrounding Christmas are anticipated for months in advance, unexpected popins are also the norm this time of year. Rather than being caught off guard, individuals can take steps to prepare for unexpected guests.  Have food available. Even if guests pop in for a little while, it’s nice to be able to offer them something to eat. Keep cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, pretzels, and other snacks on hand. Make-ahead, crowd-friendly foods can be prepared and frozen. Casseroles, pasta dishes and stews are hearty and can serve in a pinch when unexpected visitors arrive. Simply take out to defrost and heat up. Keep cookies in airtight tins and purchase a pre-made frozen pie to serve, if necessary. In a pinch, you can always order out, but over time the cost of having food delivered can add up.  Keep the bar stocked. Toasting to a happy holiday season is the norm during this time of year. Toasting requires hosts have some spirits on hand. Stock the bar with a few staples,

such as red and white wine, vodka, rum, whiskey and mixers. Also, you may just want to create a signature or seasonal cocktail that can be served when guests arrive, such as a spiced punch or a holiday eggnog.  Cue the playlist. Put together a playlist of favorite holiday music that will provide the ideal ambiance should guests ring your doorbell. Thanks to services like Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora, holiday music that fills a home with the sweet sounds of the season is now always accessible.  Keep things neat. Set aside a closet or space that can serve as a catch-all where errant items can quickly be stored should guests arrive. Gather loose toys, books or stray papers in a basket and then stash the basket in the closet until guests depart. Routinely empty the dishwasher so dirty dishes left in the sink can be quickly loaded before guests arrive.  Create an aromatic atmosphere. Scented candles that evoke the aromas of the season can refresh stale indoor air. Butter cookie-, apple pie- and cinnamon-scented candles can make it seem like you just finished some holiday baking. Guests tend to drop by on a moment’s notice come the holidays. Preparing for the unexpected can make such visits more enjoyable.

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D10 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

Tips for first-time holiday dinner hosts H osting a holiday meal for loved ones provides an exciting opportunity to bring family and friends together during a special time of year. First-time hosts may be a little nervous and put pressure on themselves to make the meal just right. But there are a few tricks of the trade novices can employ to calm their nerves and enjoy their first foray into holiday hosting.  Go with what you know. Experimenting in the kitchen can be fun, but such experimentation should be avoided when hosting for the holidays. When planning the menu for your holiday dinner, choose a main course that you have prepared in the past. Familiarity can calm your nerves, and you’re less likely to forget key ingredients when preparing a meal you have made several times in the past. If you want to experiment a little, do so with desserts that you can prepare and test for taste several days in advance. If the desserts don’t pan out, you will still have a few days to find an alternative.  Get a head start wherever possible. The day friends

and family are coming to visit figures to be hectic. In addition to preparing the meal, hosts must also ready their homes so they can create a welcoming environment for their guests. Once you have chosen the menu, look for items that can be prepared in advance of the big day. Desserts can often be made several days in advance, as can certain side dishes. Do as much prep work for the main course the night before the meal as possible.  Double check your pantry. Even if you’re making a meal you have made a dozen times in the past, peruse your pantry to make sure you have every ingredient you’re going to need. If you’re used to making the meal for four people but will now be making the meal for 12 of them, make sure you have enough of each ingredient to make the meal in bulk. To make things easier, update your recipe to reflect the additional guests before going to the grocery store. Doing so guarantees you won’t run out of ingredients once you start preparing the meal.

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 Ask guests to bring nonessential items. Guests will likely offer to bring something to the holiday dinner, and there’s nothing wrong with accepting help. But don’t ask guests to bring items that are essential to the meal, as that can delay the meal if guests get stuck in traffic or show up late. Instead, ask guests to bring a bottle of wine, a small dessert or even some snacks guests can eat while waiting for the main course.  Ask about food allergies. While hosts don’t need to cater to every food allergy under the sun, ask each guest if there is any particular food or ingredient they absolutely must avoid. If enough guests admit they must avoid a particular dish, you then know not to prepare it. In addition, have plenty of vegetables on hand for guests who are vegan or vegetarian. Holiday hosting is fun, and first-time hosts can make it even more fun by employing a few veteran tricks of the trade. Metro Creative Connections

Festive tree-trimming tips and techniques P eople have visited forests to select their Christmas trees for centuries. While tree sellers conveniently stationed in store parking lots and artificial trees displayed in various retailers have led fewer people to venture into the wilderness, the Christmas tree is still an important component of holiday celebrations. Long before the spread of Christianity, evergreen plants and trees held special meaning for people during the winter. Boughs and garlands were hung in homes and over doors and windows to repel evil spirits and illnesses. On the winter solstice, the greenery would represent that spring would once again arrive and banish winter’s dreariness.

Germans who decorated trees inside of their homes are credited with starting Christian Christmas tree traditions during the 16th century. Early Americans were late to adopt Christmas trees because early Puritan settlers thought the tradition – as well as carols and other concepts – were Pagan influences. It took the popularity of England’s Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert appearing around a decorated Christmas tree to eventually win over much of Europe, Canada and the United States. Trees are very popular today. According to StatisticsBrain, 10 million artificial trees are sold in the United States each year, while 34.5 million real trees are sold

 Position trees away from annually. Such trees require decorating, and the following secrets heat sources, such as fireplaces, and tips can help celebrants do vents or radiators, which can cause the tree to dry out premajust that. turely and become a fire risk.  For added safety, anchor a tree to a wall or ceiling, so it will not tumble over onto children or Boughs and garlands curious pets. were hung in homes  In homage of the first and over doors and German Christmas trees, decorate with natural ingredients, windows to repel evil such as berries and pinecones. spirits and illnesses. Also, use apples, nuts and marzipan candies.  To free up more space for  Prune the tree first. Be presents, place a narrow tree sure to shape the tree as desired, stand inside of a waterproof since natural trees will have planting container. Place the tree branches sticking out. Wear gar- inside. This will provide a more dening gloves to avoid being cov- streamlined look that’s neater ered in sap. than a tree skirt.

 The more lights the better, especially on dense trees.  For a whimsical approach, match the tree decor to home decor and the color of furniture.  Make handcrafted ornaments with the whole family.  Hang the most delicate pieces toward the top where they won’t be disturbed.  Step back and enjoy your handiwork, which will also give you a chance to find any blank spots that need filling in. Tree trimming is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the holiday season, and there are no rules other than safety guidelines when it comes to decorating. Metro Creative Connections

West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D11

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D12 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

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he holiday season can be hectic, and thanks to that sometimes frenetic pace, it can be easy to put things on the back burner. While it’s OK to put off some things until the holiday season has come and gone, shipping gifts to loved ones does not fall into that category. Shipping can be expensive, especially for last-minute shoppers who want to ensure their gifts arrive in time for the

holidays. But the following are a handful of ways to ship smart and save both time and money.  Ship directly to the recipient. Last-minute shoppers who are buying online can save money by shipping gifts directly to the recipient. While shipping directly to the recipient may seem less personal than sending a gift you wrapped yourself, many online retailers allow shoppers to send gift-wrapped items directly to another person. Just be sure to have the recipient’s correct address when choosing this option.  Ship early. Waiting to ship all gifts at the same time may be more convenient, but it can prove more costly as well. If you typically finish your holiday shopping just a few days before Christmas, then waiting to ship everything will cost more money than shipping gifts as you buy them.

The longer you wait to ship gifts, the more you can expect to pay if you expect those gifts to arrive on time. Shipping gifts as you buy them, especially if you get much of your shopping done early, can save you short-term or overnight shipping fees, which can be significant.  Comparison shop. Much like you can save money by comparison



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shopping for holiday gifts, you can save by comparing shipping costs as well. Pack-and-ship companies compete for consumers’ business during the height of the holiday shipping season, so compare the costs between the various pack-and-ship companies, including the postal service, to see which offers the best deal.  Insure the items you ship. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the pack-and-ship industry. While the industry is often remarkably effective at delivering gifts intact and on time, items are sometimes lost or damaged. By insuring your packages, you’re ensuring you won’t be out of luck should your package be lost, damaged or stolen before it reaches its destination. Metro Creative Connections

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D14 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

18 ideas for making holiday memories C ounting down to Christmas Day means many different things to people across the globe. Although families likely have several different traditions they anticipate each year, it can be fun to incorporate some new merrymakers into the festivi-

ties. Here are some festive ideas to include in the days leading up to Christmas – a special family calendar of fun finds. 1. Annual memento: Have the kids or adults make one new handmade ornament each year. This way the tree is always

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evolving, and everyone can track milestones. 2. Cookie day: Devote one day to making Christmas cookies. Invite friends or family members over. Distribute some cookies to elderly neighbors. Or build a gingerbread house with a child or grandchild. 3. Holiday classic: Spend a night in and watch a classic Christmas flick you’ve never seen before. Streaming movie services often put classics and obscure titles into rotation during the holiday season. 4. Christmas concert: Host a gathering of children where they can sing or perform their favorite tunes for an audience. Take it on the road to a nearby nursing home. 5. Dine out: Take a break from cooking, shopping and hosting and stop into a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Keep it local to support nearby businesses. 6. Adopt a child/family: Volunteer with a charitable organization that provides for less fortunate families. Answer the

Christmas desires of a needy child or family by purchasing an item on their wish lists. 7. See the sights: Pack the children into the family car to tour nearby areas and look at Christmas lights displays. Bring along cookies and hot chocolate. 8. Trim a tree: Get together with adult friends at a tree-trimming party. Rotate the hosting house each year. 9. Play dress-up: A gentleman can dress up as the man in red and pop into a friend’s holiday gathering. 10. Wilderness walk: Enjoy the crisp air and snow and see a local park from a winter perspective. 11. Acts of kindness: Choose any act of kindness and make it happen this Christmas. It can include feeding the hungry or helping a disabled person shop for the season. 12. Kids’ Secret Santa: Spread the joy of giving by having the kids choose a sibling or friend’s name from a hat and purchasing or making a gift for that person.

Fresh Christmas tree care tips C

hristmas trees are often the centerpiece of holiday decor and one of the hallmarks of the season. The National Christmas Tree Association states that there are approximately 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold each year in the United States, where there are close to 350 million currently growing on Christmas tree farms. The NCTA also notes that, when a Christmas tree is cut, more than half of its weight is water. To maintain its quality and appearance, keeping the tree hydrated is of utmost importance. There are other steps to take as well to minimize needle loss and help

ensure the tree lasts through the holiday season.  Buy a quality tree. It’s advisable to buy a freshly cut tree from a local nursery or cut one down yourself. Trees available at tree lots may have been cut down weeks prior and may have already started to deteriorate. Some needle loss is to be expected, but if the tree you’re considering loses lots of needles when shaken, go elsewhere.  Fit the stand to the tree. Rather than whittling down the trunk to fit the stand, choose a stand with an adequate reservoir to fit the trunk and water. Stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Make a fresh cut in the trunk

before putting the tree in the stand. Be careful to cut perpendicular to the stem axis, not at an angle or v-shape. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in absorbing water and should not be removed.  Keep it cool. Trees are used to being outdoors and not inside. Therefore, inside the home, place the tree away from a heat source to prolong its life. Avoid drafts from heating vents, radiators and fireplaces as well.  Consider a living tree. Living trees can be planted in the yard after the season, ensuring that the beauty of the evergreen can be enjoyed yearround. Select a tree that is hardy to your planting zone.

Live trees often need to be transitioned from the outdoors to a garage and then into the house so they will not be shocked. Reverse this process when returning the tree to the outdoors. Do not keep the tree inside longer than 10 days, advises HGTV. Monitor any tree’s condition daily, keeping it watered regularly. Select lights that use low heat. Remove the tree if it has dried out to avoid a fire risk. Following these suggestions can help trees last the entire holiday season as they serve as the centerpiece of holiday decorations. Metro Creative Connections

13. Hand out hot chocolate: Make a big thermos of hot chocolate and give it out to shoppers or workers who have been out in the cold. 14. Read religious stories: Understand the true meaning of the season by reading Biblical passages. 15. Camp-in: The first night the tree is decorated, allow the kids to sleep beside it under the glow of Christmas lights. 16. Scavenger hunt: Plan holiday-themed trivia questions and hide small trinkets for children to find. 17. Surprise box: Put a gender and age nonspecific gift into a box. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the person who finds a hidden gift tag under their chair at dinner gets to open the box. 18. Family portrait: Wear your holiday finery and pose for a portrait that actually will be printed and framed. Metro Creative Connections

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Saturday, December 2, 2017 D15

The origins of some beloved holiday traditions


hristmas time is here. The presents are being purchased and wrapped. The stockings will soon be hung on the fireplace mantle. Mistletoe is pinned above the front entryway, and poinsettias add rich color to home decor. Tradition is integral come the holiday season. Throughout the month of December, traditions fill people’s days and comprise the many reasons why individuals decorate, celebrate and dine the way they do this time of year. But few may know the origins of some of the most beloved holiday traditions.

Christmas stockings can be traced to the 12th century, when nuns would leave socks full of nuts, fruit and tangerines for the poor. This is why some people still put tangerines in Christmas stockings.

share a kiss. The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. Mistletoe was thought to bring good luck to a household and ward off evil spirits. The custom of kissing under mistletoe can be traced to England. Originally, a berry was picked from the sprig of mistletoe before the person could be kissed. When all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing.

Christmas tree

Christmas trees are everywhere this time of year. The use of evergreen trees predates Christmas and is associated with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with partying and gift-giving. During the winter solstice, green branches served as a Christmas stockings reminder that spring would The Christmas stockings of arrive anew. Germans are credtoday may be a byproduct of ited with first bringing ever- and gave away his fortune to various traditions. greens into their homes and help the needy. He also did various other good deeds. St. One such tradition dates back decorating them. Nicholas became infamous and to a Dutch custom in which began to be known by various children would leave shoes full Santa Claus of food to feed St. Nicholas’ Santa Claus’ origin story names around the world. The donkeys, and then St. Nich- can be traced to St. Nicholas, Dutch called him Sinter Klaas, olas would leave small gifts a Christian bishop who lived which was eventually transin return. during the fourth century. St. formed to Santa Claus. Another origin story of Nicholas was very generous The jolly persona came later

Christmas bells

Church bells ring for many special services, includMetro Creative Connections ing Christmas mass. During Christmas midnight Mass in when 20th century advertisers the Catholic Church, the altar – especially the artists respon- bells may be rung while the sible for Coca-Cola ads – por- priest says the “Gloria.” Bells are part of caroling, trayed Santa in a red suit with and jingling bells are assoa big smile. ciated with sleighs and Mistletoe Santa’s reindeer. Christmas is rife with tradiMistletoe is hung in doorways, and couples who stand tions that date back ages. beneath are encouraged to Metro Creative Connections

Christmas tree safety tips


hristmas trees are staples of the holiday season that can be found in millions of households across the globe. But Christmas trees can be as dangerous as they are heartwarming. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, Christmas tree fires contribute to $13 million in property damage annually. Many Christmas tree fires involve live Christmas trees that, while beautiful, pose a greater fire threat than artificial trees because they can dry out, making them vulnerable to electric lights and nearby heating sources. Homeowners can take the following steps, courtesy of the ACTA, to prevent Christmas tree fires.  Purchase a fresh tree. The ACTA notes that fresh trees are less likely to catch fire than trees that were cut weeks before being purchased. Avoid trees that are shedding their needles. Try to purchase trees with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck. Purchasing freshly cut trees from tree farms instead of grocery store parking lot vendors, whose trees might have been cut weeks earlier, can ensure trees are fresh.  Discard damaged lights. Damaged

lights are not just an eyesore but a significant safety threat. Electrical malfunctions in lights can contribute to tree fires, so discard any damaged lights. Before placing lights on the tree, stretch each strand out on the floor and plug them in to see if any lights are damaged or burned out, replacing those that don’t pass inspection.  Place the tree away from heat sources. Christmas trees are the centerpieces of holiday decorations. But trees should never be placed near heat sources, no matter how aesthetically appealing certain spots may seem. Keep trees away from fireplaces, radiators, candles, heating vents, and lights.  Keep the tree watered. A tree that gets ample water is less likely to dry out, and dried out trees pose a significant fire risk. Check water levels and water trees in the morning and night as needed, and even more frequently if necessary.  Turn lights off at night. Christmas tree lights should always be turned off at night when residents are going to bed. In addition, lights should never be on when no one is home. Metro Creative Connections





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D16 Saturday, December 2, 2017 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.

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Holiday Guide II  
Holiday Guide II  

West Central Tribune Holiday Lifestyle Guide II