How To: Farm, write and open presents


The Bloechl Homestead Farm 2015 tree I put up the day before Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is busy for everyone, I know. However, I represent a unique sect of holiday workers. I would like to take a few lines to describe how the season of cookies, Santa, Baby Jesus and family works for farmers and journalists.

Farmers do not get holidays off. Cows need to be fed, milked and cleaned up after. Those girls get more attention than extended family members do on ever Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Christmas.

Before Christmas, there is a conversation about when the farming will determine the gift opening and holiday meal times. We decide to either open gifts before the big day or at like 4 a.m. the morning of.

I think I was 9 or 10 when Santa came during Christmas Eve mass, and my brother and I came home to a note from the big man about how he needed to go to Jamaica for an emergency and he needed to stop at our house first, which was supposed to explain his early arrival. Needless to say we noticed Dad’s absence at church and that Santa’s handwriting was a lot like Mom’s.

My parents worked very hard to give us a holiday like everyone else’s, and those late nights and early mornings eating cookies and sharing presents gave me some of the best memories of my life.

When I moved to Green Bay and began my professional writing career, Christmas significantly changed. My boyfriend and I now go to his family’s celebration on Christmas Eve and travel over to the farm really late the same day. It’s truly awesome, because we have been able to spend time with both of our clans each year. It is really important for us to see both our parents and childhood pets on this important day.

However, we don’t get to his parent’s place until I’m 110 percent sure the next paper is ready to be published. Stories are usually required to be in much earlier, and the stress is quite confusing with the holiday decor on the walls.

Luckily, the news staff works together to patrol the Internet whilst throwing snowballs and devouring turkey to make sure we haven’t missed a breaking news story. We also try and post our stories to social media in between sips of nog. I’m also part of a smaller paper, which doesn’t publish daily, so I cannot speak for the reporters who are working Christmas to put the pages together.

I’d love to hear from other farmers and journalists about how they juggle the holidays. Do you have any fun stories about balancing work and family this time of year?

Keep on keepin’ on everyone!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Alyssa B.


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