Hastings house ends up on German Christmas cardOver the past 10 years, the Loosbrock family has gotten used to people taking pictures of their holiday light display around this time of year. But a photo of their house ending up on someone’s Christmas card who lives more than 4,500 miles away? Well, that’s a new one.
By: Keith Grauman, The Hastings Star-Gazette
Over the past 10 years, the Loosbrock family has gotten used to people taking pictures of their holiday light display around this time of year. But a photo of their house ending up on someone’s Christmas card who lives more than 4,500 miles away? Well, that’s a new one.
The Loosbrock’s home isn’t a hard one to find; just follow the blinking, multi-colored glow on the horizon over Third and Pine streets. Nearly every square inch of their house is covered in Christmas lights. Their yard is filled with decorations, and their trees get decked out, too.
Michele Loosbrock said decorating their house and yard has become a tradition for the family.
“We do it because it’s something fun for our family to do and for the people who like to drive by,” she said. “It makes it feel like Christmas.”
They’ve also found out that their display is part of more holiday traditions than just their own. There have been two years in the past 10 that they didn’t put up their lights for one reason or another, and they’ve heard the disappointment from neighbors and people who stop by every year.
“People have come to expect it,” she said.
But not every culture expresses their holiday cheer with light-up reindeer and strings of blinking lights.
In 2008, Hastings residents Hubertus and Colleen Sarrazin had a relative from Munich, Germany, stay with them. Christian Mies is the son of Hubertus’ cousin, but they’ve always thought of him as their nephew. Hubertus is originally from Germany, and his entire family, with the exception of his brother, still lives there.
“We do Christmas differently than they do in Germany,” Colleen said. “It’s quiet, and it’s elegant, and it’s a holy time (in Germany) … We forget the elegance and go for the ‘Ho, Ho, Ho.’”
To give Mies a taste of how Americans celebrate Christmas, they took him around town to see some holiday light displays, including the Fox Family Farm, and of course, the Loosbrocks’ house at 725 W. Third St.
“We wanted to show him that part of American Christmas,” Colleen said.
They were about a block and a half away from the Loosbrocks’ house when Mies saw it.
“His mouth was hanging open a little bit and right when we pulled up, he was out of the car taking pictures,” Colleen said. “He was fascinated.”
For Mies, the house encapsulated the cultural differences between American and German Christmas celebrations.
Fast forward one year. It’s Christmastime 2009, Mies is back in Germany, and the Sarrazins are at their hobby farm south of Hastings. When Mies’ Christmas card showed up in the mail, it was a bright, color photo of the Loosbrock’s house with the words “Frohe Weihnachten! Merry Christmas!” on the front (Frohe Weihnachten means Merry Christmas in German). On the back, a caption explained the front of the card: “Christmas decorations in Minnesota, December 2008.”
So, how does Michele Loosbrock feel about her house ending up on a German Christmas card?
“I think that is so cool,” she said. “That’s so great.”
Loosbrock said Mies’ picture of their house is one of the better ones she’s seen. He captured the glow of the lights from a good angle of the house.
The Sarrazins had no idea Mies was going to use the photo for his card, nor did the Loosbrocks for that matter, but since getting the card, the families have exchanged e-mail addresses so Mies can send the original digital photo to the Loosbrocks.