As you read these words we have just exited the Bush-designated season for Daylight Saving Time. We are now 20 days away from the start of the Christian season of Advent, which begins this year on November 28. This is the official beginning of the month-long countdown to Christmas.

But really, for those who have no particular church affiliation, November and early December are marked by a series of pre-Christmas bazaars, the first of which was last weekend, on November 13.

This first bazaar (and not bizarre, as I sometimes see on posters) is the largest of the craft sales that mark the weeks before the Robert Service School shuts down for the holiday. It takes place in the school gym and ancillary room, which turns into a village market for the day.

This is the most wide-ranging of the various fairs, with pottery, painting, knitting, fabric art, baking, jewelry, leatherwork and clothing on display.

The Anglican thrift store has a big sale. Folks who manage home catalogue sales rent tables and show their wares.

Community organizations rent tables to advertise their activities and perhaps recruit new members. The graduating class holds a cakewalk in the ancillary room, while Santa Claus visits with kiddies and poses for photos on the gym stage.

The place is jam-packed with people, and there are probably more catch-up conversations going on than there have been since the nice weather went away.

The very next day there was something called a Mini-Bazaar at the Legion Hall.

The next week, on Saturday November 20, the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture will host the 10,000 Villages Fair Trade Festival sale at the Oddfellows Hall.

This event brings fair trade goods from developing nations around the world to Dawson in order to benefit the artisans who produce the goods. The items on sale are different from the usual run of craft items seen here, making this a unique experience.

KIAC holds its own bazaar in the same space on Saturday, November 27. In keeping with the organization’s raison d’être of promoting the arts, this event is more focussed on the work of local artisans: paintings, pottery, ceramics, prints, carvings and hand-made clothing items will be available.

The last gasp of all this creative mercantilism is the Last Chance Bazaar, slated to be held at the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community Hall on December 4. This event tends to focus on First Nations’ crafts: gloves, hats, garments in leather and fur, beading, jewelry, candles and baking.

As Dawsonites approach the Christmas season, they have no excuse for failing to pick up gifts without ever leaving town or cracking open a catalogue.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.