Woman receives special gift in namesake season

During what she calls “the best week of my life,” Merri Christmas Snyder rests against the island in the kitchen of her new Housing Resources home. She plans to move into the new three-bedroom Fruita home, which she helped build, on Dec. 30. Snyder, who was born six minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve nearly 50 years ago, was named Merri Christmas by her mother.

Today’s her day.

Actually, for Merri Christmas, her birthday technically was 49 years ago, a mere six minutes before Christmas day that year.

Merri Christmas (“Christmas” is her middle name) Snyder said she often gets asked if her parents were hippies. They weren’t.

The soon-to-be Fruita resident and manager at the Rimrock Walmart was born in Orville, Ohio, but spent most of her childhood in Arizona. Her two other siblings did not receive particularly special names, Clinton Wayne, who goes by Wayne, and Jessica Abigail.

Merri Christmas said it could have been worse. Her grandmother wanted her to be named Abigail Bergene, or if she was a boy, Emery Iothe.

“I had some kind of bitterness in my teens,” she laughed. “I think a lot of it was getting gypped out of birthday presents.”

When she was 19, Snyder legally changed her middle name to Christine. However, when she was in her 30s and told friends about her name, it stuck. It’s always been a big hit with kids.

“When people say my name their face just kind of lights up,” she said.

This year has been a milestone for Merri Christmas. Starting in early March, in the stubborn remnants of last year’s snow, she began building her Fruita home with a program through Housing Resources of Western Colorado.

The spotless 1,500-square-foot stucco home in the Hollow Creek subdivision is the first home she’s ever owned. According to terms of the program, a group of qualified prospective homeowners work together to build their homes.

When all the homes are finished, residents can move in and pay reduced mortgages.

Homeowners work on every aspect to build homes except plumbing, electrical work, doing some flooring and some other technical aspects of construction.

Merri Christmas has the go-ahead to move in later this week.

“This has probably been the best week of my life,” she beamed, taking in all the new appliances in her kitchen.

“This is the best Christmas present I’ve ever had,” Snyder said.  “And the hardest I’ve had to work,”  she added.


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