Christmas in Amook Pass is a quiet event that sneaks up on me. I was planning to write a post this week about all the whales that died near Kodiak Island this summer and fall, but it occurred to me that I should think of a cheerier topic for a holiday post.
Holidays are interesting when you live in the wilderness. I know city dwellers get tired of the commercialization that goes with Christmas, and every time you walk into a shopping mall from Halloween to Christmas, you are bombarded with holiday music and holiday sales. I’m sure you even get weary of Christmas parties, holiday events, and all the fattening food that is part of the season. I’ve lived in a city during the holidays, and I can remember complaining about the crowds in the stores, endless events, and sometimes even too many family gatherings with all the stress that entails.
Turn off that holiday buzz, and you have my life. We send Christmas cards to our recent guests, and of course we send a few gifts to family and friends, but since our mail plane comes only once a week, we must plan ahead, and we try to ship everything by December 15th. Better yet, we order our presents online and ship them directly to the recipients. We put up a Christmas tree and even some decorations in the yard to amuse ourselves, since no one sees them but us. We wrap gifts to go under the tree, and because we have no children, we buy too many presents for our cats! I play Christmas music to put me in a holiday mood, but unless we pay careful attention to the calendar, it would be easy to let Christmas slip past, since out here, it is a day like every other day.
A no-fuss holiday may or may not sound nice to you. There is no stress, but it can be lonely. Phone communication is nearly impossible here. Skype does not work well with our satellite internet. We have a satellite phone, but it is also spotty, and who wants to stand outside in December on Kodiak Island and make phone calls on a satellite phone? We usually just e-mail our relatives to wish them a Merry Christmas. We turn on Christmas music, open our gifts and do our best to enjoy our quiet holiday. Overall, I like the peace and quiet. I enjoy Christmas cards from friends and family, and each card is read and reread. Of course with only one mail plane a week and slow mail service to this part of the world, the majority of our cards arrive after the holidays, but that’s okay, they are still a joy.
In a way, I guess our holidays are like everyone else’s. They aren’t perfect, but we look forward to them each year, and we celebrate in our own way. Wherever you are during the holidays and however you celebrate, I wish you all the best!
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