The Top Ten Reasons Why Christmas in Minnesota is the Best

Minnesotans aren’t ones to toot their own horns.  In fact, Minnesotans are more likely to take the last bar* from the plate than brag, but I have to admit Christmas in Minnesota is the best.

The Top Ten Reasons Why Christmas in Minnesota is the Best:

 #10 Let’s start with the aesthetics. Snow.

Irving Berlin has been dreaming of white Christmases since he was stuck in a California hotel in 1940. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,  there are many places in Minnesota that have a 100% chance of snow on Christmas.  You don’t need to dream about it, Irving, a White Christmas is our reality!

#9 – Lefse for all!

It doesn’t matter what your actual heritage is – at Christmas, all Minnesotans are at least a little bit Norwegian. Pretty much any gathering will have a lovely plate of lefse. Lefse is a soft, traditional Norwegian flatbread made with riced potatoes, flour, butter, and cream – then cooked on a large griddle.  It doesn’t matter if you are a purist and just eat it with butter, or if you like to get a little bit wild and add some cinnamon and sugar – everyone is welcome at this table.  You will also find Christmas cookies from all over Scandinavia –  the delicate, fried Rosettes – dusted with sugar, and the crisp cone-shaped Krumkake, which is the Italian pizzelle’s Nordic cousin.  We have the classics, too – you won’t go without your spritz, thumbprints, sugar, and gingerbread.

Traditional Norwegian holiday lefse served with butter
A traditional rosette cookie
Traditional Krumkake

#8 – Adventures in food!

What is a holiday without just a little drama?  How about some fish marinated in a cleaning product? We’ve got just the thing! Cod, treated in some magical way with lye produces what is probably Minnesota’s most divisive food product – LUTEFISK!  Some say it’s like fish jello, some say it’s not a Minnesota Christmas without it! Either way, drown it in melted butter and find out where you stand! (Pro tip – Church Basement Dinners** are probably the best place to procure this if you’ve never had it before, and there’s usually meatballs at those dinners if you can’t deal with the lutefisk. If you’re in Minnesota, you aren’t far from a Church Basement Dinner.)

Lutefisk, a traditional fish dish, made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish rehydrated and served with butter.

#7 – You can go ice fishing!

Don’t worry, Santa will still find you, even if you are out on the frozen lake, waiting for the big one to bite! Do it right, and you won’t even be cold.  If fishing isn’t your style, you can snowmobile, play hockey on a lake, or even go on a sleigh ride!

#6 – Extra fridge space!

When the entire area is a winter wonderland, you can store a whole bunch of extra food out in the garage – just on the shelves.  It’s colder out there than it is in the fridge anyway – but be careful! Only put things you don’t care if they get frozen out there.  (I suggest you just keep the lutefisk out there and don’t bother bringing it in, but now I’m showing my bias.)

Just put the cheese ball on the shelf and then put the pop*** on the bench – unless you think it’s gonna freeze out there. Maybe we should just put the pickled herring out here instead.

#5 – Versatility!

Minnesotans need to be flexible when it comes to Christmas plans.  Minnesotans know that making any plans that involve travel between the months of October and March are entirely contingent upon the weather. We all know we could get snowed in at any time, and while we are looking forward to seeing our loved ones and and sharing a wonderful holiday meal – most of us have a very clear memory of at least one holiday that got completely dashed by a blizzard and we had to just make do with our immediate family and that weird chicken in the deep freeze.  And here’s the secret – that Christmas was the best one.

Doom. Stay home. (Screenshot of road conditions from http://www.511mn.org/)

#4 – Our Choirs!

It feels like music is in the air everywhere, but Minnesota has a long tradition of strong choral music.  You can catch Christmas concerts from Concordia College, St. Olaf, St. Thomas and many other schools – and don’t forget your local High School Choir! Nothing will get you in the Christmas mood like a bunch of Minnesota kids singing Christmas songs.  If you’re in Alexandria, make it a point to catch the Alexandria Carolers as they perform around town! They’ve been a Minnesota Holiday tradition since 1962.

1992 Alexandria Carolers, a fine group of kids and your author is not at all biased by the fact that she’s in this photo.

#3 – We have the best town decorations. 

Take, for example, Alexandria.  I don’t think you can beat our decorations.  Sure, it seems like everyone has decorations, but we outcharm your charmingest charming thing.  Throw some of that snow that we always have on top and POOF – you’ve got yourself a perfect Christmas.

They are actually more impressive in real life. Trust me, they are GOOD.

#2 – Knitwear and general cuteness!!

Do you enjoy wearing sweaters?  Do you love boots?  Don’t all of those wintery hats look fun to wear?  We get to look cute in our winterwear AND it serves a purpose because it gets so cold here.  Sure, we don’t start wearing jackets until it’s 40 degrees, but when we finally do put them on – WE LOOK CUTE – and extra Christmassy.

In Minnesota, we are all this cute and Christmassy in our winterwear.

#1 – Portability!

Put a little bit of Minnesota in your heart, and you can have a Minnesota Christmas wherever you may be.  Honestly, Christmas in Minnesota is wonderful.  It really isn’t in our nature to brag like this.  We hope that no matter where you are in the world, you have a Christmas to remember. So, most importantly, we’re sending you a bit of Minnesota Christmas cheer – and like Irving Berlin said – “May all your days be merry and bright – and may all your Christmases be White.”

If you’d like to listen to how we do Christmas in Minnesota, you can stream us here from anywhere in the world.  We’re playing only Christmas music through Christmas Day. Short of being here, it’s the easiest way to have a Minnesota Christmas. 

Also, Prince was from Minnesota.

And with that, I’m done bragging.

* A bar is any dessert item cut into squares. Anything from a brownie, to a lemon square, to a rice krispie bar is a bar.

** Dinner is lunch.

*** Pop is soda.

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