Serving Roseau County for over 100 Years - The Official Roseau County Newspaper

Don't Spend Christmas Alone

by Jessica Jones

A beautiful Christmas tradition started way back when, by two thoughtful families, the Burggrafs, and the Ericksons. These loving families in all their Christmas spirit made a wonderful meal welcoming the community to not spend Christmas alone. This may have started off small but over the years grew. This tradition went on for quite some time until, as with all good things, it had to come to an end for some reason.

As this was such a lovely tradition, it would've been badly missed by the community, so in the late 90's the Roseau Eagles Club took over hosting Don't Spend Christmas Alone. Hosting this meal on Christmas Day for the last 25 years was a joint effort by the Eagles Club 3882 Aerie and Auziliary. The Eagles host, and volunteer, at many community events, all for good causes with a motto of "for home, for country, and for God". (The Eagles are always open to new members, so if you would like to become a part of something grand, become an Eagles member. Reach out to Jessica at 218-403-1449, she could get you connected with the proper folks.)

At first, they held the Christmas event in a room off the Old Museum. Unfortunately, the Roseau flood came, and after that the Old Museum Building was taken down. Since the Old Museum no longer existed, Don't Spend Christmas Alone has been held in a variety of places. The event has been held at the Roseau Event Center, which ironically enough was originally the Eagles' building. This event had also been held at the old VFW, in the backroom. Of course, the VFW sold, and so was the end of the event being that there. This brings us to the current location, in which it has been held at the Four Seasons Center in Roseau.

Putting this meal on takes a village. Many donations are made, some in the form of ham, some ground beef, and one special person seems to regularly donate a bunch of turkeys! Donations have been made by individuals and businesses. One member donates a bunch of Stovetop Stuffing! According to Eagles member Joanne Burkel, "I remember one year I had a bunch of squash from my garden and so I made a big pan full of squash, Jon and Boyd took all the donated ground beef and made a ton of meatballs, and Krista made this type of pumpkin roll, it was cream cheese wrapped up in a pumpkin type of a was delicious! And then of course we'd always have Lefse. I remember one year we made it in the back of the VFW!"

Of course, there were always slight differences in the menu as the people volunteering would cook the meals and perhaps make a dessert to donate as well. Generally, right around Christmas Citizens State Bank will be serving cookies and cider, and kindly enough, once that has concluded, they box up the leftover cookies and give them to someone from the Roseau Eagles on Christmas Eve so they can have them for Christmas Day, to add to the menu of desserts.

Since the Roseau Eagles have taken over Don't Spend Christmas Alone, they have been serving on average 100 meals per year on Christmas Day. One year during COVID, they served 120 meals! A couple of years during COVID the meal was take-out only, and some deliveries. The first year of that you could drive up in the back alley of the VFW to pick up your meal, and it worked well. Then there was also a year of take-out and delivery at The Four Seasons, due to COVID.

"You just never know how many are going to come. I remember one year not many people showed up, I'm not sure why, maybe it was the weather or something. So, the next year we scaled back and made less, and then we ran out of potatoes and vegetables! I remember Iona Ferderer who was helping that year, sent a guy to the Roseau Food Shelf to get instant potatoes and veggies, so we could hurry up and make them! Now we just plan for an average of 100 meals just to be safe," recalls Joanne.

Don't Spend Christmas Alone overall have been served during lunchtime on Christmas Day, usually from 11a.m.-1p.m., and is free of charge to the community. Various years Mr. And Mrs. Claus have popped in to surprise the guests. In conclusion Joanne expressed, "the Four Seasons have been so generous letting us use the place, having it all set up and decorated. We are very appreciative to have been able to serve the Christmas meal out of there!"

After 25 years of serving Don't Spend Christmas Alone it was again time to pass the torch. This year as fill-in host, so to speak, the Roseau Women of Today will be hosting the event. The Women of Today are not necessarily going to be the hosts in future years, but they were able to make it work for this year with their members and families. The meal will still be served at its usual time and most recent place, the Four Seasons, on December 25th from 11a.m.-1p.m.

The Women of Today is a national group that has a chapter in Roseau. Their emphasis is on service, growth, and fellowship. Women of Today do a lot of enrichment projects to benefit the community, mostly free or a with minimal costs so all can partake. The Roseau chapter currently has 14 members, 5 of these members are on the planning committee for this wonderful Christmas meal.

The menu this year will consist of ham, meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, dinner rolls, and of course desserts. "The idea was that each of the 14 members donate one dessert," states Christine S. That's a lot of homemade deliciousness! There will be a choice of coffee, juice, and water to drink. This year there will also be a designated area for folks who would like to play some games such as cards or cribbage, while they are enjoying a good meal and neighborly fellowship.

The Roseau Women of Today decided to be the fill-in host, with the hopes another group would want to continue the tradition for future years, as they felt it would be greatly missed by the community. If you happen to be reading this and are interested in hosting this kind and heartfelt event or know someone else who wants to spread the Christmas cheer by filling bellies on Christmas Day, contact Roseau Women of Today at [email protected] or Christine Sibilleau at 218-452-0330. (Anyone 18+ interested in becoming a member of Roseau Women of Today contact Beckie Erdmann at 218-452-1386.)

If you are looking for some great company, perhaps a card game, and a delicious meal on Christmas Day, Don't Spend Christmas Alone! Go on down to the Four Seasons and join the Christmas togetherness. If you can't stay and eat, just get a meal for take-out, and if you just can't get out, call to try and arrange a special Christmas Meal delivery!


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