By Marlys Kruger
When families begin to expand as we grow older, getting together and shopping for everyone at Christmas seems to become harder and harder to do. One family in the Colfax-Bloomer area decided it was time to change their yearly tradition of buying gifts for everyone and look for a new way to celebrate the holiday.
Dort and Dan Lee and their family of Colfax along with Dort’s family (Sykora) from the Bloomer area decided buying presents for everyone just wasn’t was Christmas was all about.
“About seven years ago, my family was growing so fast with nieces, nephews, in-laws and grandkids,” Dort said. “Buying for everyone was getting to be too much, so we came up with an idea of having a family auction to raise money for charity. Everyone had to bring a good, used item from home, something they didn’t use that others might want. Then we picked someone to be the auctioneer and we had our own auction. The first year we raised $200 and the amount kept going up each year. Last year we raised over $900 and at the end of the auction, we get together and decide who to donate the money to. We have given it to a lot of different charities including St. Judes Hospital, local food pantries and last year we gave some to a local family who is adopting a baby from Haiti to help with their expenses. Everyone is involved and the young kids have as much fun with it as the older folks. They pick their own items to auction off and bid on items they want, plus they help choose where the money goes. It gets really fun when several people all want an item and they keep raising the bids. We have added homemade items over the years and those seem to go very high too,” she added.
Dort said family members look forward to the get together every year.
“I always have nieces and nephews calling to find out when the date for the party is,” she said. “We usually have it between Christmas and New Years now and have 20-30 people at it. My house was getting too small so we have it at another relatives house now. We always receive thank you cards from the places we donate to and that is so nice for us to see that they appreciate our donation. It makes you realize what the true meaning of Christmas is and we hope the tradition to help others will carry on throughout the years with our younger generation,” she concluded.