Who doesn’t enjoy Christmas lights when the nights are dark and the sun sets early in December? The Grinch?
Some people merely appreciate whatever decorations they see as they drive their daily routes. Others take time to drive through a few neighborhoods or to special places that have extraordinary holiday displays. Some groups even hire a limousine for the occasion.
This season, when you’re out looking, drive by the Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel off East Fish Lake Road (13745 Reiner Drive). White lights glow among more than 15 larger-than-life angewls and decorated trees. You’re invited to drive around the whole building to appreciate the entire scene.
Owners/directors Nick Radulovich and Danielle Radulovich Nelson hold a special place in their hearts for the Maple Grove community since they are longtime residents. Radulovich Nelson graduated from Osseo Senior High in 1997 and cherishes being able to serve the families she grew up with.
When they decided to build their third chapel in Maple Grove in 2010, they specifically chose a neighborhood separate from the hubbub of downtown, one that fit the quieter nature of their business.
Radulovich Nelson and her mom, Michelene Radulovich, who retired from Cedar Island Elementary and now helps out at the chapel, enjoy the beauty of Maple Grove during the holidays. “It’s so pretty. What can we do to add to it?” Radulovich Nelson remembers thinking. “We wanted to bring the chapel to life throughout the holiday season by honoring all of the ‘angels’ we lost throughout the year.”
Danielle and Michelene worked together to select the decorations. They’ve found that Christmas lights in the form of angels are difficult to find. They continue to search for LED angels to join the collection, as they plan to add to the display each year. Bright, shiny colors are chosen for the interior and the angel theme iscarried throughout.
Michelene takes charge of the inside decorating with the help of the entire staff. The exterior lighting is done by an outside company with maintenance staff assisting. After one to two weeks, everything is done. The lights are turned on the day after Thanksgiving and left up until just after New Year’s Day. The two other Kozlak-Radulovich Chapels, in Blaine and Northeast Minneapolis, only decorate inside. The Minneapolis location keeps its decorations up through January 7.
People constantly tell staff that they love the display of holiday lights. Others are touched especially by the angels. One man wrote, “I am a neighbor to your Fish Lake Road facility. Literally hundreds of times I have intended to contact you to thank you for the beautiful winter lighting display.”
Another woman wrote, “We love the light display at the chapel. It truly embodies the spirit of Christmas. Thank you for sharing this with the community.”
The Maple Grove chapel hosts other events for family members of lost “angels.” The holiday remembrance service takes place each December, offering the opportunity to gather again in an intimate, candlelit atmosphere to honor loved ones by lighting a candle, watching a tribute video presentation and sharing conversation. Each participant receives a glass angel in remembrance of their loved one.
Another Christmas event is the Tinsel Tea, which features holiday fashions from Chico’s and highlights decorating and other trends from local businesses. This year, the tea takes place on December 6. This event is a community outreach (one of 10 to 12 held each year) geared toward widows, widowers, friends and relatives. However, it is open to anyone.