Christmas in Minnesota
Like the warmth of a cabin fireplace and the twinkle of lights along the edge of a frozen lake, Christmas in Minnesota evokes memories of holidays long ago.
Familiar traditions echo across the years in funny, poignant, and surprising ways. The communal feast is the focus in the 1870s when a family welcomes a Swedish traveler to their cozy sod house on the prairie. The annual holiday pageant is at the heart of a moving story by Faith Sullivan about a schoolgirl frightened by her role in the spotlight. The spirit of giving is the theme as Evelyn Fairbanks, chronicler of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, remembers the stranger who made Christmas possible after her father’s untimely death in the 1930s. A dad struggles to reconnect with his son during this time of togetherness in a touching story by novelist Jon Hassler. A Civil War drummer boy prepares for a makeshift holiday while on duty with the First Minnesota. Essayist Bill Holm reflects on the joyous and burdensome ritual of composing the annual Christmas letter.
These stories and many more, accompanied by vintage recipes, advertisements, photos, and decorations, recreate the excitement and spirit of Minnesota’s own Yuletide cheer.
Marilyn Ziebarth is an editor at the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Brian Horrigan is an award-winning author and an exhibit developer at the Minnesota Historical Society.