By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year, we’re not dashing through the snow on Christmas Eve.

However, many spent Monday in the Twin Cities dashing through the stores to get last minute items for their holiday celebrations.

“Some adult beverages to go with the spirits, the spirits of the holidays,” said customer Gilmore Harris.

New Year’s Eve is king, but the second busiest day of the year at Chicago Lake Liquors in south Minneapolis is Christmas Eve.

“Today we’ll have over 5,000 people come through these doors,” said owner John Wolf. “Two to three times as much as a regular Friday or Saturday. It’s crazy.”

The average grocery shopping trip takes about 41 minutes, but there were times this past weekend where customers at Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis waited up to two hours to get inside.

“We have lines out of the door a lot of time, and it’s really a fun time,” said owner Julie Ingebretsen.

They sell a variety of last-minute items, like Scandinavian crafts of all shapes and sizes.

But on Christmas Eve, they make their money behind the meat counter with the Scandinavian food they sell. In particular, it’s the Swedish meatballs.

“We go through about 12,000 to 13,000 pounds of meatballs and sausage a day, two weeks before Christmas,” said Vidar Arntsen.

Swedish meatballs are the Christmas miracle here, but not the only traditional holiday food. Lutefisk, herring, lefse, and pretty much every other Scandinavian staple are on offer.

“Oh, it’s a wonderful place,” said customer Albert Gustaveson. “It’s been here as long as I can remember.”

John Lauritsen

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