Heartwarming Holiday Stories From South Dakota Farms

It’s the time of year for presents under the tree, cookies for Santa and time spent with family and friends. Farmers especially enjoy this time of year when harvest is complete and they can reflect on the months of hard work spent growing healthy, sustainable crops and providing food for tables across South Dakota. We checked in with some local farmers to find out the unique ways they celebrate the holidays on their family farms.

Amanda shares a holiday memory.

“Christmas magic has always been alive in my household, but also in my community. One year, my dad volunteered to give horse-drawn sleigh rides in the community. Unfortunately, it had not snowed yet that year, which meant it was not possible for his team of horses to pull a sleigh. We had to improvise. Instead, we decorated a horse-drawn buggy in lights to look just like Santa’s sleigh. We dressed up our horses like reindeer, fastening ‘antlers’ to their bridles. My sister and I even dressed up like elves to complete the look. I will always cherish the memory of the joy on children’s faces as they climbed into Santa’s sleigh for a ride.” – Amanda Eben, livestock specialist from northwest Iowa

Tim explains his non-traditional tradition for Christmas.

“Growing up, we always had a big Christmas Eve dinner on the farm where lutefisk would be the main course. While the older generations in my family enjoyed this traditional Nordic dish, the rest of us weren’t so fond of it, so we made a change. Wanting to keep the tradition of being ‘non-traditional’ with our Christmas meal, we decided on prime rib and king crab legs. It’s a meal the family looks forward to all year long.” – Tim Ostrem, farmer from Centerville

Morgan poses with a pie and explains a Christmas tradition in their family.

“On Christmas Day, my husband, Jason, does something a bit unique and sweet. To prolong the morning of opening gifts and the fun of the day, he hides all our gifts – literally. Mine and the kiddos’. He writes out clues on cards to help us find them. It was such a treat to watch our daughter fully participate last year. I’m always so thankful for the time he spends staying up late to do this for our family, especially knowing he has to get up early the next morning and do chores before we open presents. I’ve saved all the clue cards through the years because it’s such a fun memory.” – Morgan Kontz, farmer from Colman

Does your family have a fun or unique way to celebrate the holidays? Share your stories with us in the comments.