Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Decorating- Alaskan Style

 For the first ten years that I lived in Alaska, the only way that I was aware that it was Christmas was to look at the calendar, or perhaps take a trip into town during December. The farm, where I lived, was run by a Christian organization that didn't celebrate Christmas. At least not all the outward appearances that are so common in the country today. We had no trees indoors, except for the ones we cut down and chopped up for firewood. There were no decorations or gifts or fancy dinners. There was nothing to distinguish Christmas from any other day of the year. On the one hand I could understand the doctrine. The commercialization of Christmas that is so prevalent now bears little resemblance to the reason we celebrate the holiday. For so many people Christmas is a time of great stress- too much busyness, too much pressure, too much money spent, and for some, too much time spent alone. All that being said, here in the North country, the nights are long and cold, and Christmas provides us with a good reason to dress up our homes and businesses with tinsel and lights and ornaments. It's nice to pass by a place that has some colored lights in the window and some streamers of garland draped around the tree.  When I came to town to live, I decided that it would be fun to decorate the house a little. For thirty years, more or less, we've strung garland and lights on the front porch and hung lights and tinsel in the windows. It breaks the monotony and drabness of a dark winter night. Here in Hoonah I've seen homes with the outdoor lights still strung up well into March and beyond. More power to them I guess. I was out at the Forest Service building and one of the employees decided to add a little Christmas cheer to the usual displays. As you can see, in place of a mantle to hang a stocking, there is the open mouth of a small brown bear. I hope Santa exercises caution when he goes to fill it. An art project from some of the local kids is dressed up with a few Christmas bows, and the display of bear skulls has a ribbon of green garland framing it. Up above the cross tree on a troller down at the marine storage facility, a bald eagle serves as a sort of tree topper. Even the dog gets dressed up this time of year when it gets cold and snowy outside. He's wearing his ugly sweater, complete with little jingle bells that go tinkling with every step he takes. His biggest challenge is to keep from peeing on his sweater when he lifts his leg. Apparently the sweater is a little big. As he was walking  through the snow on his way to sniff out another dog's marking, he stepped on the back of the sweater and ended up walking out of it, right through the collar. I guess he needs something a little smaller, but kids, please don't send him any more. He's got a pumpkin suit upstairs in the closet as well as a red rain coat- neither of which he cares for. If he wasn't so old I'd try to get him a hot dog bun sweater, like the wiener dogs in the Heinz commercial, but I don't want to humiliate the poor fellow. In any event, I hope that you'll take some time this year to go out and enjoy the light displays that your neighbors have set up.  If you're with the electric company, I hope you'll be giving out generous bonuses and if you're just a schmuck like me who likes to decorate the house, thanks for making Christmas a little brighter.


  1. Poor Rigby!!! Good blog dad, I love to look at all the Christmas lights.
    Love you, Camille

  2. Hi Camille. I do too. We grabbed up Jen and went out driving around and gawking at all of them. I helped her get hers up yesterday. She has enough lights up to illuminate the whole corner of the street. I told your mom that the house looked like a pimp on a holiday and she informed me it looked like a ginger bread house. Just a matter of opinion I guess. I do like the lights though. No doubt so does the electric company. Love you too.