Children with the Harbor School of Music sing at the Homer Nutcracker Faire on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Children with the Harbor School of Music sing at the Homer Nutcracker Faire on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Take a look at the daylight hours on our front page. That’s right: 6 hours and zero minutes. On Saturday, Dec. 21, the winter solstice, we lose one more minute of light and bottom out at 5 hours, 59 minutes.

And then it gets better. The solstice happens at 7:19 p.m. Saturday, the moment in time when the sun appears to stand still. Around the solstice at solar noon, the sun seems to hover at its lowest point above the horizon. By Christmas Eve, the sun will rise higher and the daylight hours will increase.

Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the sun and Christians the birth of the Son. However you believe, this week marks the return of light to our cold, dark corner of the universe.

With our weird, warm weather and lack of snow, it feels darker than usual. The Kachemak Bay Birders Christmas Bird Count had a record number of species, 80. In 1999 you could drive out onto Beluga Lake to watch fireworks, but this year you would need a skiff to do that.

People report flowers blooming. The other day the Betster saw a guy in shirt sleeves, and he wasn’t a teenager who didn’t know better. With a late Thanksgiving, the holidays seem shorter, more compressed. So how do you get in the mood?

Light candles. Bake. Put up that tree if you haven’t already. Do a good deed or two like shopping for Share the Spirit presents. Write a letter — a real one, on paper and with stamps — to a distant friend or relative. Read a book. Snuggle up by the woodstove and just stare at the flickering flames.

Take a walk on the beach at low tide — you won’t slip on ice there. Stare at that marvelous Kachemak Bay and the mountains across from us and watch the sun. At night, see the stars and think of the light they cast on distant worlds. Maybe some intelligent being across the universe looks at their own sun and imagines us wondering at our own star.

Sing. Dance. Meditate. If you hold a faith in your heart, share it with others. After all, Homer has more churches than bars.

Despite the chaos in government and people shouting at each other in 128 characters or less, we still live in a pretty dang cool universe. We have hope and love, and that will usuall get us through the worst.

The light will come, Betsteroids. It always does. Seize that sunshine and be thankful for its warm embrace. You got this. Celebrate the joy of this beautiful community, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST CAROL OF THE BELLS BET: The Homer High School Swing Choir cordially invites you to join them for their annual “Candlelight, Carols, and Desserts” performance at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, on stage in the Mariner Theatre. Spanning cultures and across centuries, this performance brings together some of the finest arrangements of a cappella holiday music available today, presented by own very own local musicians. Admission is $12, with tickets available at the Homer Bookstore or at the door. For questions or accommodations, contact Kyle Schneider at 235-4607.

BEST BEAR CREEK BET: The last weekend of the Bear Creek Winery Garden of Lights is from 5-7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at the winery on Bear Creek Drive. Enjoy the light displays, hot chocolate and holiday carols. The winery and gift shop will be open to the public as well.

BEST BREWERY BET: The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club is hosting a Chili Cook-off from 5-7 p.m. this Friday at Grace Ridge Brewery. All proceeds benefit the ski club. Head in and get a bowl of hot chili to warm up the cold night.

BEST BAZAAR BET: The Last Chance Holiday Bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at Chapman School in Anchor Point. Shop from over 30 vendors, support local artists and find homemade goodies. There will be coffee and concessions available for purchase. Kids can meet Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Heidi at 907-399-6025.

BEST BETTER HEALTH BET: The next Walk With a Doc is from 9-10 a.m. this Saturday at SPARC. Hear a local health care provider talk briefly about a current health topic, and spend the rest of the hour walking, asking questions, getting free blood pressure screenings and more. Please bring your clean, indoor walking shoes to change into. Walk with a Doc is always free All are welcome – SPARC is accessible for walking, running, stollers, wheelchairs, walking poles, etc. All ages and abilities are welcome, and snacks and coffee are provided. Please contact wellness@sphosp.org or call the SPH Health & Wellness Department at (907) 235-0970 with any questions or suggestions.

BEST SKATE BET: Head to the Kevin Bell Ice Arena for the annual Christmas Eve Skate from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24. There will be free admission and free use of rental skates. Bring canned food to benefit the Homer Community Food Pantry.

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