Vogt's Notes: I hope you have a very merry Christmas

Enjoy gatherings with friends and family.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Merry Christmas!

I hope this day finds all of you gathered - or preparing to gather - with family and friends for a memorable Christmas weekend.

Whether your traditions include exchanging gifts, eating a special meal, playing games, watching movies, attending a church service, snapping family photos or doing some other time-honored activities - have fun and enjoy those you’re spending time with to celebrate.

Traditions change as children grow up, families expand, people move away and everyone gets older. Thus, "staying fluid” has become the operative phrase for my family.

Today I will travel to see my sister and her family, who flew in earlier this week from out of state, along with her in-laws and my mom. The holiday weekend gets a little fuzzier as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day approach with a father-in-law in ill health.


But time will be spent with family, culminating at some point with a get-together with our kids. There will be past memories relived and new memories made, along with lots of laughter and love.

Enjoy that precious time with those special to you, and always keep in mind that true meaning of Christmas - rejoicing in celebrating the birth of Jesus, God’s ultimate gift to each of us.

Helping others

It’s also the season of giving, and those people and organizations who helped to make this Christmas merry for area families in need deserve a huge thank you from us all. It’s no easy task to organize programs that provide gifts and meals to families. Rather, it’s a huge commitment and a labor of love.

The lakes area should be grateful for the Christmas for Kids programs, the Best Christmas Ever program that Minnesota Traders in Pequot Lakes and Woods to Water Real Estate in Nisswa operated, as well as food shelves, family centers and countless individuals, donors and other programs that helped make this Christmas season bright for so many in our area.

Thank you.

Holiday Greetings

Be sure to look for our Holiday Greetings section in this week’s Echo Journal. An annual special section, it includes area second-graders’ letters to Santa Claus as they wrote them.

This is a longtime tradition that the then-Lake Country Echo weekly newspaper started many years ago and it remains a favorite. I thank the teachers at our area school for cooperating every year on the class activity and for letting us publish the letters. Enjoy them.

Orange cake

Finally, I have to direct your attention to an orange cake recipe on page 9 of today’s Echo Journal.


Today - Dec. 22 - would have been my dad’s 82nd birthday. Coincidentally, staff writer Travis Grimler chose to write about the history of oranges at Christmastime in his Grim’s Grub recipe column this week.

I told Travis that for as long as I can remember, my mom always baked my grandma’s orange cake recipe for my dad’s birthday because that was his absolute favorite. None of the rest of us cared for it much in my earlier years, but I have to admit it grew on me as the years went by. My husband always enjoyed it as much as my dad did.

Many years ago, my Aunt Karyn (my dad’s sister) shared their mom’s recipe for the homemade orange cake with my mom. That recipe in my aunt's handwriting is splattered, but my mom still has it. My dad really didn’t need any presents for his birthday. Orange cake made his day, after a meal of Swiss steak.

During the rest of this holiday week when my thoughts are centered on family, I leave you with this random quote I love:

“The most beautiful things in life are not things. They’re people and places and memories and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter.”

May you experience all of that during this Christmas season and always.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at


Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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