Looking back at Christmases past through memories of one long-time Christmas resident

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CHRISTMAS, Mich (WJMN) – Marion Brown has been a resident of Christmas for over 70 years. Born in 1929, Marion and her husband moved to Christmas when she was just 21-years-old.

“We came up here in 1950 and we came up to take care of his parents, my husband’s parents. But he was here before that,” Marion Brown said. “He came in from St. Ignace, I guess there was more fish in the lake over here than there was in Lake Michigan so they decided to come over here.”

A toy factory is what put Christmas on the map and gave it it’s name. “Christmas Industries” was built in 1939 and was put out of business due to a fire that destroyed the entire factory. Although the factory has burned down before Marion had moved to the area, she recalls some toys that she was told were made there.

“Christmas Industries” being built by Julius Thorson for George Mitchell in 1939.
Courtesy of the Alger County Historical Society

“I think it was like a little cart but they were wooden and the wheels were made of wood too,” Brown said. “I don’t know how many he had made or I am sure that they did they had them in the styles that they had at that time.”

While Local 3’s Haley Schoengart was speaking with Marion, she talked a lot about her friendship with Pauline Burness. Pauline was the owner of Mrs. Klaus’s Kitchen as well as the first postmaster for the Christmas Post office that opened in 1966.

Christmas Post Office
Courtesy of the Alger County Historical Society


“We went down quite a bit when she had the restaurant we would go down quite often,” said Brown. “I got pretty acquainted with her.”

Marion even recalls a special time she and her son Jim shared with Pauline at Mrs. Klaus’s Kitchen.

“She had given, we had gone through the restaurant, one day, Jim was little, that is my oldest son. Pauline gave him a little bottle of milk in it… I think I still got it,” Brown said.

Mrs. Klaus’s Kitchen
Courtesy of the Alger County Historical Society

From the Knotty Club to Skyland Candle Works to Mrs. Car’s floral business and even the snowmobiling business Marion and her husband owned in Christmas, Marion shared some memories of some of her favorite businesses that were once in Christmas and her special ties to them.

“My husband, I think he started building what he called the Brown Derby and of course the lady who owned the Knotty Club, that was her [business name] suggestion, which is now The Duck Pond,” Brown said. ” It was like a bar and restaurant and his mother and his aunt basically did the cooking.”

In her free time, Marion is a master seamstress who has made everything from dish towels, to her daughters wedding dress.

” I made my kids a lot of clothes, even my boys,” Brown said. “When they were little I made them a suit and I got pink shirts for them and they didn’t care what the color was.”

Marion is a proud great-grandmother to 22 great-grandkids and is expecting her first great, great-grandchild this year.

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