Here in the Klondike we are currently forging through Advent and into the Christmas season.
The month of the Christmas bazaars – otherwise known as November – is behind us. That shopping season is bookended by the two large events: the Daycare Bazaar in the Robert Service School gymnasium and the Last Minute Bazaar, a month later in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community Hall.
In between, the Ten Thousand Villages Fair and the KIAC Craft Fair occupy the other Saturdays.
The Chamber of Commerce had elves on the street toward the end of the month, with a downtown event focusing on the joys of shopping locally.
No one is naïve enough to think the Sears catalogue office won’t be busy and there won’t be lots of traffic between here and Whitehorse, but local merchants do try and cut down on the drain a little bit.
The monthly KIAC coffee house even had a Christmas theme in early December with the River Bends playing upbeat carols instead of their usual repertoire.
Open houses have also begun. The Dawson City Museum held its “12 Side Dishes of Christmas” for what was promoted to be the last time, but the latest newsletter indicates that it may be back next year by popular demand.
The City of Dawson and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in offices held their events last week. The Dawson Community Gospel Chapel had a Christmas community feast on December 9, and the RCMP have one planned for tomorrow night (December 13) as I write this. The TH Community Christmas Dinner will fill their hall on December 12.
If you judge by the packed crowd that attends it every year, the premier event of the season is still the Christmas Eve Carol Service and Pageant, which is organized by all the churches and held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church because it has the largest building.
The service is anchored by a community choir, which has been averaging between 12 and 20 people out to practices twice a week since just after Remembrance Day.
It’s made up of people from all the churches as well as people who don’t go to church at all, but just like to sing.
There have been attempts to organize community choirs here over the last decade or so, but undertakings like that seem to need deadlines and the type of objective provided by a big event in order to succeed, and so efforts have foundered on the shoals of a lack of purpose.
It seems that Christmas and Easter still provide a motivation for group singing, though the former event is the more popular of the two.
The service, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, will feature three anthems by the choir led by Betty Davidson and Brenda Caley on piano, with nearly a dozen other traditional and folk style carols for the standing-room-only congregation to sing along with.
The centrepiece of the evening is the Christmas story, told as a slide show and featuring local kids captured on digital flash cards at the Jack London Centre back in September.
It is organized into a popular narrative picture show that has been going on for well over a decade now, having migrated from real slides to PowerPoint.
Since you are reading this just a few days before the actual event, I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a “Merry Christmas.”