November 23, 2011 at 8:32 a.m.

Kids get your crayons out, What is small town Christmas? A time to save, a time to help


I hope you looked in your Search Shopper over the weekend. As I mentioned in my column last week, we have included a gift guide to hopefully help you with your Christmas shopping this year. The guide is packed with great ideas for entertaining over the holidays. In addition, you will find great ideas from local businesses who would love nothing more than to help you with your checklist.

Another great feature of the guide is the many listings for the Chisago Lakes Small Town Christmas event. Small Town Christmas is a group effort that invites you to Taylors Falls, Shafer, Center City, Lindstrom and Chisago City from November 25 through December. Each town has its own special celebration and I highly encourage you to take some of them in. In fact, Taylors Falls kicks off the Small Town Christmas this weekend with the lighting festival and parade. If you want to see a very cool Christmas Parade at night, please come to Taylors Falls on Friday evening. It is one of the most fun and nostalgic parades you will ever see. All listings for each town are located on page 12 and 13 of the guide. I will remind you when other towns are having their lighting ceremonies in the next few editions.

One thing about the guide that I failed to mention last week, is our coloring contest on page 20 of the guide. Your children are asked to color the picture to the best of their liking and either mail it to the Press or drop it off. There will be a winner in three different age categories so sharpen your crayons and get the artwork to us by December 9. We are located in downtown Lindstrom, next to the Dinnerbel restaurant. IF you choose to mail your entry, send it to PO Box 748, Lindstrom, MN 55045.  Good luck!

If you didn't happen to get your gift guide, we have plenty at the Press, just stop in and pick one up.

Someone asked me the other day, why I "harp" on shopping local so much. The word harp really knocked me off guard and I had to take a second to collect my thoughts. I told this person, that if we as a community do not shop locally and choose to drive elsewhere to purchase goods and services, where does that leave us as a community? The quick answer is nowhere. It leaves us with a community filled with empty store fronts and even more homes for sale. I ask people to shop locally, because I like it here. I am proud of our community and I want it to last. So if asking people to support their neighbors by shopping locally as much as you can is harping, well so be it, I guess I am a harper.

Congratulations to the girl swimmers and divers for making it to State last week. Araya Gamble, Nicole Bean, Dani Berg, and Thomi Lee qualified for state in the 200 freestyle relay. Thomi qualified for the 500 freestyle and Sam Thomsen and Courtney Schlegel both made it to state in diving.

Thomi placed fourth in the 500. She is an amazing swimmer that just continues to get better every year.

Each year, I split up photo duties with our sports editor, and this year I had the pleasure of taking diving pictures. The state swim and dive meets are held at the Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota. Both Courtney and Sam did awesome. Sam made the podium with a seventh place finish, and Courtney did wonderful as well. It seems like I am traveling to the state meet every year to take swimming or diving photos. That tells me we have a terrific program here at Chisago Lakes. Congratulations to the school for another successful season.

Well, we held off Mother Nature and her frigid temps as long as we could, but she is stronger than we are. What a difference a day makes, Friday was a beautiful sunny day in the mid to upper forties. Saturday began with a few sprinkles and well, you know the rest of the story.

If your house is like mine, there are a few family members that are excited to see the white stuff on the ground, there are also a few that are just not ready. I am reminded as I write this, that in fact, I am the ONLY person in this household who is not excited about shoveling and shivering, not necessarily in that order.

Maybe it's because as beautiful as the snow looks, it means work of different nature begins. Snow blowing in minus 20 degrees. Risking one's life to salt the walks when even animals won't leave their nests or dens. Or maybe it is that one snowball that always seems to find the back of my head and thus melting down my back. Funny, neither kid ever seems to take credit for that one. That reminds me, I still have hoses laying in the yard. I am not ready for this.


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