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Not Home For The Holidays

Two officers share what it's like working the holiday shift at the Deephaven Police Department

No matter what country a person lives in, when the holiday season rolls around, most of us look forward to spending quality time with our families. For some, it’s the smell of a home-cooked meal as you come in from the cold. Yet, for the little ones, it typically is all about what might be under the tree. One thing is for certain, some of the greatest gifts we get at Christmas can’t be found under the tree because they’re just too big!

I remember being asked as a young girl, “what did you get for Christmas?” I don’t remember anyone asking me, “what did you give for Christmas?” It also surprises me that whenever I try to remember my favorite Christmas, I usually can’t. Somewhere throughout the years, Christmas changed. It no longer centered around the gift that came in a box.  

As the kids grew up and eventually married, a great holiday season would often depend on whether the kids were going to be home with us, or with their in-laws. Sometimes, it was even tough keeping everyone’s schedule straight! We as parents learn to adjust; after all, no one can be in two places at once; and Christmas is, after all, mostly for the children, or is it?

It got me thinking about people who couldn’t spend the holidays with either family due to “what they did for a living.” Hospitals stay open, so there must be hundreds of nurses and doctors who can’t be home for the holidays. And what about the men and women in our armed forces who can’t make it home? Let’s not forget about the 911 dispatchers and firemen that draw the short straw and end up “Not home for the Holidays!”

We take it for granted that on the 25th all businesses are closed except for “that shift.” But wait, it’s not true, for what would we do, if something went wrong, and the police were all gone?  

This year Officer Kaylin Nelson from the Deephaven Police Department has drawn the short straw for Christmas and New Year's Day. Her husband, Tyler Nelson, a policeman in the Winsted area, will be working this Thanksgiving. Last Christmas, Officer Ethan Read (Deephaven Police) spent Christmas Day away from his two kids, Braden 10, and Irelyn 5, and from his understanding wife, Nicole. “They know that this is where I must be,” said Officer Read. 

Officer Nelson will miss her son Liam’s first Christmas this year. “It’s alright. It’s part of the job. I do get a good feeling when I am out on patrol on Christmas, and I see driveways with several cars. I know that their family is home for the holidays. I just smile and say to myself, 'I’ve got your back.'”

Each of these officers feels the Christmas spirit firsthand each year when participating in the annual KARE 11 Toys for Tots celebration. The Deephaven Police Department will load and deliver two semi-trailers full of toys for this event. The tent at KARE 11 will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through December 14. While the deadline for dropping off donations at the Deephaven Police Department has passed, you can still donate a toy at one of the many drop-off locations around town. You can find the closest drop-off location online at minneapolis-mn.toysfortots.org. You can also drop off a new unwrapped toy at Kowalski's Markets. 

For the many kids wondering if Santa will remember them this year, I urge you to place your imaginary Santa or Elf cap on and drop off a gift or two at a location near you. For children, “something to open” is exciting. For us older kids, being aware of the thousands of men and women who are “giving of their time via their jobs,” is a huge gift that cannot be found under our trees. 

Lastly, but most importantly, let me share a little ditty that my grandmother taught me. “Let us never forget, yet always remember WHY the baby Jesus was born on the 25th of December!” If you are someone who can’t be home for the holidays because of your job, let me just say, thank you for your service from myself and my colleagues at the Lake Minnetonka Lifestyle magazine.   

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