Darkness is closing in at 4:30 and it’s finally started to get cold here on the week I’m writing this.

The cold is a good thing because it enables folks stranded in West Dawson to make the trip across the Yukon River for supplies. They may not agree with the “stranded” part, but after the desperate helicopter “beer lift” in early November I think I could make a case.

Of course those who are venturing across the river on foot or skidoo, following the winding, red-flagged trail that has been blazed, may simply be following a natural Klondike urge to get together, an urge which seems to peak around this time of year.

This is the season of open houses and community events, a time when it’s possible to eat out with friends almost every other night. Not all the coming events have been posted as yet, but the first few notices appeared right around the time I was finishing my last column.

The Dawson City Museum, fresh from its successful fund-raising auction, will have its Open House on December 3. There will be food and singing of some sort (though the school choir will not be there this year because it hasn’t started yet) and the grand draw for prizes on the raffle tickets they’ve been selling.

The Nutcracker ballet, performed by the Northern Lights Dance group from Whitehorse, will be staged in Diamond Tooth Gerties on December 5 [Editor’s note: see Arts and Culture section for a full story on this].

I mentioned last issue that there will be another House Concert on December 7, featuring Adam Iredale-Gray and Taylor Ashton, the founding members of a larger group called Fish and Bird.

The City of Dawson Christmas Open House will be held on December 9 from 5-8 pm in council chambers. It’s about the only time of the year when the chambers are full of smiling, happy people. It’s usually just the council and me there except when people are unhappy about something. The notice says Santa will be visiting. Guess he’ll want to sample the appetizers.

The Community Gospel Chapel Christmas Dinner will take place on a Friday night, either December 10 or 17. As of today they haven’t made a final decision. Lots of good food and singing at this event, along with a live version of the Christmas Story.

The RCMP Open House will happen on December 16 from 4-7 pm. The email I received says: “Come on down for a bowl of stew and some goodies and meet the members, auxiliary members and the rest of the staff!” Posters advertising this event aren’t up around town yet, but sometimes in the past they have spoofed the format of an old-fashioned wanted poster just for fun.

The Robert Service School Christmas Concert usually takes place on the evening before the last school day. This year that will be December 15.

Finally, on this list of evenings out, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in will be holding their Community Christmas dinner, open to everyone, on December 18.

Next week I’ll spend some time discussing preparations for the big event of the Christmas Season – the Christmas Eve Pageant.