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Vogt's Notes: Random thoughts center on Christmas season

As we find our Christmas spirit, my thoughts are, well, all over the place. So I share with you some scattered, random thoughts pertaining to the winter season and the holidays.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

The ground is finally snow-covered. Holiday lights are aglow in our neighborhoods and downtown areas. Christmas songs waft from the radio and in stores. Christmas movies, both new and the old standbys, are airing.

As we find our Christmas spirit, my thoughts are, well, all over the place. So I share with you some scattered, random thoughts pertaining to the winter season and the holidays.

Stay off the ice

A topic that’s near and dear to my heart, I share the Department of Natural Resources’ annual warning to beware of the ice forming on area waters.

Stay off that ice until there’s at least 4 inches of new, clear ice. When you do venture out, check the ice thickness every 150 feet. Don’t just walk out on the ice based on what you’ve heard or read.

Don’t head out on the ice alone. Wear a life jacket. Bring ice picks. Have a cell phone, whistle or other communications device just in case you need to call for help.

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Remember, the DNR says that no ice can ever be considered “safe ice.” The DNR shares these minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.

  • 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

  • 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.

  • 12-15 inches for a medium truck.

  • Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.

Please be safe.

Shop local

No matter if it’s cold or snowy outside, visit our local shops. I’m not big on shopping, but I do love sauntering through our local stores and finding the perfect gifts for people (or for me!). I always find items to fit my budget and have so much fun doing it.

Take my word, it’s worth your time to support our local, small-town retailers.

Yippee for peppermint

I absolutely love peppermint in the winter - peppermint tea, peppermint protein shakes and, of course, peppermint bark whether it’s made with milk chocolate or white chocolate.

I recently received a news release proclaiming that Dec. 1 was officially declared National Peppermint Bark Day by National Today to mark the kickoff of the holiday season.

National Today conducted a nationwide survey that revealed peppermint bark is the nation’s favorite holiday treat with 34% of consumer votes. This No. 1 treat beat out both gingerbread at 16% and candy canes at 21%.

I haven’t yet had much peppermint. But believe me, I will.

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Name a snowplow

If you’ve ever wanted to name a snowplow, here’s your chance. For the second year, the Minnesota Department of Transportation invites you to help name eight snowplows - one snowplow for each MnDOT district in the state.

MnDOT, in a news release, encourages the public to get creative and submit their most witty, unique or punny snowplow name ideas on the agency’s website at https://www.dot.state.mn.us/nameasnowplow/ by Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Remember, this is a fun, lighthearted, family-friendly and nonpolitical contest, MnDOT says. To that end, no politically inspired names, or names including profanity or inappropriate language, will be accepted.

Ultimately, the public will vote on their favorite names in January 2022. Follow @mndot on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Family and friends

Be sure to take time to appreciate your family and friends during this holiday season, and always, really. To me, they’re everything.

I leave you, readers, with just one of many random quotes I’ve come across and downloaded to my cellphone to reflect on when the need arises:

“Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, worst days give you lessons, and the best days give you memories.”

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

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Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Related Topics: CHRISTMAS
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 nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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