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Celebrating Christmas traditions in Havre


December 21, 2018

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Santa Claus (Keith Hanson) waves to a group of children while Barrett Morkberg, 4, ponders what to ask for for Christmas during the Festival of Lights Friday, November 23, 2018 in Chinook, Mont. Morkberg settled on asking for a baby sister, which the two children before him also asked for.

Families come from all around the Hi-Line to participate in the many Christmas themed events here in Havre.

Many of the events started Thanksgiving weekend and will continue through this weekend.

Greg Stoner, who was shopping at the Atrium Mall's vendor show, said he just moved back to Havre a couple of years ago from Minneapolis. He added that he wasn't born here, but he grew up in the area.

Stoner said he goes to Beaver Creek to camp and to Fresno Reservoir to fish around this time of year. He added that he was enjoying the craft fair at the Atrium.

Havre-Hill County Library held its annual hayride Saturday afternoon. The wagon, pulled by two horses, made a loop down Third Street to Second Avenue, then up Second Street and then Fourth Avenue back to the library.

Inside the library, families had to sign waivers before boarding the wagon. Baked goods were provided by Havre-Hill County Friends of the Library and, downstairs in the children's section, kids could decorate cardboard gingerbread men.

Annie Marks said she tries to attend as many Christmas-themed events as she can. She added that she opens presents on Christmas Day and goes to the candlelight service at her church on Christmas Eve.

"This season, I am bell ringing for Salvation Army, they really need bell ringers right now," Marks said.

She added that she and her friend, Dee Rogers, like to drive around and look at the Christmas lights around town.

Rogers said she will be out of town this year for Christmas, but she likes to attend the Community Christmas Dinner at the Havre Eagles Club.

Rogers and Marks said they went to the Live Nativity at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church and enjoyed viewing that.

Steven Dvorak said he just got married this year and added he enjoys wrapping presents with his wife.

"Christmas Eve, we have a ham dinner and then we unwrap presents at about five in the morning on Christmas Day," he said. "So kind of a basic Christmas tradition, but we make it our own."

Dvorak added that his wife was out of town and he wanted to do something with his kids.

"They loved the hayride and they were more excited about the horses," he said. "I like doing activities around the town."

Michelle Tomaskie said she tried to take her kids to as many activities in Havre as she could. Last year, she said, she took her kids to the H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum's Dinosaur Christmas at the Holiday Village Mall.

She and her family go to the hayride and Christmas tree lighting every year.

"It's just fun to go ride on a hayride," she added. "it's not an everyday occurrence that we get to do very much."

She also went to the Havre Middle School Christmas concert and said her family enjoyed it.

Her daughter Julianne said she liked the snow and seeing Santa at her school.

Ruth Anderson said she and her family go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

"We just hung up Christmas lights," she added. "It's a little bit late."

Anderson said they also have eaten a lot of Christmas cookies so far, and she plans to drive around the neighborhoods to see the different decorations.

"We thought we'd come check it out, especially with our little guy now. We like to get out and do, like, family things," she said. "Before, we'd stay home and rent a Red Box (movie), you know, boring couple stuff."

She said she also entered her son into a coloring contest recently that was put on by their church.

Sarah Garcia said her kids thought the hayride "was awesome." Later on, they were going to Walmart to see Santa Claus.

On Christmas, the kids like to spend time with their grandpa, open presents and "talk about Jesus," she added.

Shannon Pett said this was her family's first Christmas away from their extended relatives. On Christmas Eve they are going to meet with some other friends who also don't have any family in town for Christmas.

Pett said her husband is also going to smoke a turkey for Christmas dinner.

She took her kids to the Nativity Festival at the Havre Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to see Santa at North 40 Outfitters and to the Piano and Pipes concert at the First Lutheran Church Sunday. They also attended the tree-lighting ceremony at Havre's Town Square, made luminaries and went to the Chinook Festival of Lights.

"There's just lots to do around town," Pett added. "It's just always happy and lots of things to do."

Nathaat Doney and Tracy Daychild said their Christmas was going to be low-key. Doney added that his wife will be working Christmas Day.

Daychild said they went to the Havre Beneath the Streets Holiday Spirit Stroll and Doney said they had also been up to the Holiday Village Mall to partake in the Christmas activities up there.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Martin Holt, playing Santa Claus, throws his arms in the air after flipping the switch and bringing light to Town Square Saturday, November 24, 2018 in Havre, Mont. After struggling to flip the switch, Holt exclaimed, "Why do they call them light's if they're so heavy?"

Jillian and Brady Allen said they spend Christmas Eve with friends and Christmas Day and the day after with family.

Jillian Allen said last Saturday they were heading to the mall to see Santa later that day.

"They're kid-friendly, that's nice," she added about what she liked about the events in Havre.

Lindsey Bennett said she and her family usually travel to Flathead, where her in-laws live, but this year they're staying home.

"We usually just have a nice dinner and open presents in the evening and maybe a couple Christmas morning, too," she added.

Bennett said she just went to the grand opening of the Bear Paw Ski Bowl Ski Shop and went on the hayride. They also go to basketball games and parties put on by the Lions Club.

"I just like everything that gets people walking around downtown," she added. "... The lighting of the Christmas tree and all the shops that are open on Saturdays and library events. It's nice, so we might as well be out and about and walking."


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