Best Bets

What to give thanks for in such a difficult, long, hard year? And how to give that thanks safely without endangering others as a pandemic continues to spread across our state?

The Betster has confidence that if anyone can figure that out, it’s Homerites.

Maybe skip the 20-pound turkey, don’t invite 10 extended relatives over and save yourself the stress this year. Opt for a small bird, your social bubble only, and a relaxing, intimate affair for this Thanksgiving. If we’re all being honest, the amount of time to takes for everyone to go around the table and say what they’re thankful for before we can eat is almost too much to bear with those sweet potatoes staring us in the face, anyway.

Alaska has had a good run of things, all things considering, when it comes to COVID-19. We are far better off than many other states and many, many other communities. That’s something to be thankful for right there.

The best way to keep it that way is to skip the big party this year in favor of dinner with those you already live with or who are in your social bubble. If you’re like the Betster, you really only have a small handful of people you actually like anyway.

The Betster really feels for those who are up here in Alaska forging their own life away from their families, though. For many, the big holidays and the odd summer getaway are the only opportunities to see the ones they hold dear, and COVID-19 has certainly made that more difficult and less safe this year.

Those of us who are alone can seek comfort in the faces of our loved ones across the screen during a Facetime chat, in virtual Thanksgiving dinner held via online platforms like Zoom, or in the homes of members of their inner circle and social bubble. But none of that can quite replace the feeling of a hug from mom and dad, it’s true.

This year many of us can be thankful for our health. Others can’t. Some of us can be thankful for our good fortune and financial stability. Others can’t. Some of us can be thankful for our jobs. Others can’t.

The virus has taken a whole lot from us this year, but there are still little blessings and things to be thankful for around every corner. It might just be a little harder to see them, that’s all.

While reflecting on what you’re thankful for this year, take a gander at these best bets:

BEST PAINTING BET: Looking to get in touch with your creative side? The Homer Council in the Arts is holding Chinese Painting: Poinsettias from 5:30-8:30 p.m. this Friday at the council building. Learn Chinese painting techniques with local artist Sharlene Cline. All levels are welcome and supplies provided. Please register at

BEST ART BET: Looking to get in touch with your creative side, but prefer to do it from a safe distance? Look no further than Tidewater Glacier, a mini class in art quilt dye painting being held from 6-7:30 p.m. this Friday via Zoom and Facebook Live. This is a free class. As one of the Pratt Museum’s four Alaskan artists represented in the exhibit “Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth,” Cat Larrea will be presenting the process and techniques used in creating her piece, “Tide Water Glacier.” Information on supplies, resources and further education will be provided to participants.

BEST KEEP IT LOCAL BET: The Homer Chamber of Commerce will launch “Shop Small: All Season Long” on Saturday, Nov. 28 with sale coupons from participating local Chamber Members available on its website,