North Dakotans Get Prepared for Christmas, Amid a Pandemic

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BISMARCK, N.D. (KX News) — While there was a Christmas in 2020, a lot of us couldn’t or didn’t celebrate. To put it mildly, it’s a Christmas many of us would like to soon forget and hope we won’t see another like it in our lifetime.

With the help of the vaccine and lower COVID case numbers, Christmas 2021 looks more promising, more normal. KX visited one grocery store to get a sense of how people are feeling ahead of Dec. 25 and how and if they’re going to celebrate.

On a frigid December morning, customers could be seen going in and out of Dan’s Supermarket on South Washington in Bismarck. They walked from aisle to aisle, mostly sticking to their list, but sometimes, something caught their eye.

This year, some of those grocery lists are bigger, as North Dakotans are getting ready to welcome guests for Christmas, as opposed to last year when a lot of us did “nothing,” Dan’s Supermarket customer Betty Becker said.

“Well, you know, with the pandemic, we didn’t have a gathering at all. No. It was just us,” Roger Becker, another of Dan’s Supermarket customers, said.

Despite improvements in this pandemic, Roger and Betty said it’s still not the same — but there have been enough improvements to have a Christmas get-together.

“They’ll come to our house for Christmas Eve dinner and open gifts and that’s it,” Betty said.

Like the Beckers, it was also a quiet Christmas last year for Gloria Zeiszler.

“My husband was there. We just made the best of it,” Zeiszler said. But Zeiszler and her husband won’t be spending Christmas by themselves this year. Instead, they’ll be celebrating with family and will feel safe doing so.

“Since we were all vaccinated, we figured it was safe to be together,” Zeiszler said.

Someone else happy to be getting back to normal is Store Director Neil Heidt, who started working at this very store when he was 14.

“I like the people. Most of the customers I recognize, they recognize me and I’ve known them since I was a little kid basically,” Heidt said.

What Heidt wished he hadn’t known, aside from the pandemic, is what has come in its wake.

“The supply chain still is an issue, so we’re out of a few key items that we can’t get for a couple of weeks, but that’s being experienced across all retail right now,” Heidt said. Not to worry, Heidt explained; Dan’s has plenty of other traditional options ready for purchase.

“Right now, it’s the hams that are on sale, and then it’s also the prime rib roasts,” Heidt said.

Though holiday menus may not see many adjustments year to year, all of us will continue to adjust and take it one day, one Christmas at a time, until we all get through this together. Heidt also said customers have been very understanding regarding inflation.

On a lighter note, another popular Christmas menu item Heidt said is lasagna.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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