For the past 12 years, Harold Kuiper has spent his Christmas Eve alone, roasting turkeys for thousands of people.
Kuiper, who owns Kuiper’s Family Bakery, cooked 96 birds for this year’s Westman and Area Traditional Christmas Dinner.
"It takes around four and a half hours for each load. I did half of them in the morning, and I’ll come back around 1:30 a.m. to do the other half," he said on Monday afternoon.
The turkeys, which Kuiper said account for around 80 per cent of the total turkeys cooked, are delivered to him in two loads, and he cooks all 96 birds by himself.
"It gives me time to reflect on the year — I also pick a book to read. I’ve got ‘The Alchemist’ (by Paulo Coelho) this year."
Last year, dinner organizers gave Kuiper half a load to cook and distributed the other half to a few pizza restaurants.
This year, they decided it was easier to keep all the birds in one place, and gave the full load back to Kuiper.
He admits that he didn’t like doing the job when he first started, but now looks forward to the time to himself.
"It’s part of my Christmas tradition now — just me and the birds on Christmas night."
Kuiper said he doesn’t feel like a hero in cooking so many turkeys.
"This isn’t a big deal for me. I’ve been brought up to always help any way that I can. The real hard workers are the ones who cut all the turkeys and serve it to all those people on Christmas Day."
When all the turkeys are done cooking and get picked up by volunteers to be delivered to the dinner, Kuiper goes home to get some sleep.
He doesn’t go to the dinner itself, but does have a big dinner at home with his family.
This year he planned to cook one more turkey, for himself, on Christmas Day.