The first day observed in December is on the 7th, which is Pearl Harbor Day. This day is observed annually in the United States to remember and honor the 2,403 citizens who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. The American flag should be flown at half-staff until sunset in remembrance.
The next day observed is Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, also known as the shortest day of the year. This is also called midwinter, an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the the sun.
The next day observed in December is Christmas Day on the 25th, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Modern Christmas celebrations have a mix of Christian and pre-Christian origins and themes, including gift giving, Advent calendars, Christmas music and caroling, Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, wreathes, and mistletoe and holly.
The last day observed in December is New Year’s Eve on the 31st. A lot of businesses will be closed to prepare to bring in the New Year. There’ll be parties and fun for all — be responsible, have a designated driver.
Here are some events happening on the Kenai Penisula in December:
Dec. 1 is Christmas in the Park. This is a public event, hosted by Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and is being held at Soldotna Creek Park. Santa will be present, the Community Tree will be lit and hot cocoa and cookies will available.
From Dec. 1-8, the Homer Nutcracker Ballet will be presented at Homer High School. From Dec. 1-2, there will be a weekend of holiday fun in Seward. There will be bazaars and craft shows, fun at the SeaLife Center, and a glorious Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in the evening hours.
On Dec. 8, at the Soldotna Senior Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a Holiday Sweetness Bazaar. Also on Dec. 8, the Nikiski Community Recreation Center will be having a Holiday Craft Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., hosted by North Peninsula Recreation Service Area. This is a public event.
On Dec. 14, the Kenai Christmas Concert, hosted by Kenai Peninsula Singers and the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra is being held at Kenai Central High School at 7 p.m. On Dec. 15, there will be another performance in Anchorage with the Anchorage Civic Orchestra.
On Dec. 14-15 and 21-22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Bear Creek Winery in Homer will present the Garden of Lights. Come one and all to enjoy the bonfire, hot chocolate and holiday music.
From Nov. 23 through Dec. 21, the Sixth Annual Gingerbread House Contest will be at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center.
Various peninsula schools have their Christmas Concerts; come and enjoy. There are also various craft shows around the peninsula. It’s a good time to shop for something special for that special someone.
Elsewhere in Alaska on Dec. l, which is the first Saturday in December, the Fireman’s Carnival in Nome is happening at the Nome Recreation Center. This is a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations in Nome. The Carnival started out more than 100 years ago as a ladies garden party and has evolved into an evening full of bingo, raffles and food. Raffle prizes are snow machines, gold nuggets, airline tickets and heating fuel — all notable prizes for the Nome area.
On Dec. 1 and 2 in North Pole is the North Pole Winter Festival, which includes fireworks, holiday bazaar, candle-lighting Christmas celebration and the crowning of King and Queen of the North Pole.
On Dec. 14-30, the Charles Dickens Classic, “A Christmas Carol,” will be brought to life at the Discovery Theater in
Anchorage. On Dec. 17 each year, the holiday fun begins at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This is the perfect place to ring in the magic of the season on the Kenai. Enjoy the fun of animal programs, crafts and pictures with your favorite Christmas characters.
On Dec. 23 in Petersburg, a Norwegian Christmas tradition called Julebukking happens; this is a lot like Halloween. Residents dress up, go door to door, and share treats with neighbors.
Here’s some December trivia:
On Dec. 1 in 1894, the Yukon Order of Pioneers organized Fortymile. Fortymile River is the site of Alaska’s first major gold rush, in 1886. Gold prospectors gave the Fortymile River its name. It joins the Yukon River 40 miles below Fort Reliance, which is an old Canadian trading post.
On Dec. 2, 1980, President Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which created 97 million acres of federal parks, preserves and refuges.
On Dec. 7, 1950, Alaska recorded wind gusts of 159 miles per hour in Attu.
On Dec. 12, 2015, Alaska recorded the lowest air pressure of 27.29 inches in Dutch Harbor.
On Dec. 18, 1971, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act became law.
December is the last month of the year. This is a good time to reflect on the positives, as well as negatives, change what we can, make amends where needed, and always strive to do and be the best we can be.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND BE SAFE.
• By Bonnie Marie Playle