The winter sun sets over Cook Inlet earlier this week. Alaskans start getting more light beginning Monday.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

The winter sun sets over Cook Inlet earlier this week. Alaskans start getting more light beginning Monday.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Homer’s Best Bets

Time sure does fly up here in the dark north. After weeks of anticipation, a little stress and some foul weather now and then, the big day will finally arrive. Holy Axial Tilt! That’s right: On Dec. 23, we finally start gaining some daylight hours. Oh, it will be a minute or two a day, but our long slide out of darkness starts next Monday.

Well, yes, of course the really big day comes next Wednesday, when all good girls and boys snuggle in their beds hoping that Santa Claus will overlook some petty misbehavior. That little incident involving the Super Glue in the locks? Really. That wasn’t that big a deal, was it? Isn’t the whole idea of Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and didn’t Jesus preach forgiveness? 

The end of darkness has a lot to do with the reason for the season, both literally and symbolically. Pagans celebrate the return of the sun while Christians celebrate the birth of the Son. As the preachers would put it, a holy light came into the world to give us hope. Your spirituality may vary as well as the degree to which you hold your faith, but perhaps we can all agree that in times of darkness, a little light helps us find our way to peace. That’s been the promise for thousands of years, and it’s a promise that continues.

We have fresh snow on the ground, a chill to the air and beautiful winter sunrises and sunsets. It’s a time of family and friends, festivity and fun, and a time to share the warmth of this really awesome town by the bay. Think of all those who want and share the gifts not just of things, but of love. What better way to celebrate the season with good food, laughter, music and song — ho-ho-ho, perhaps with these Best Bets:


BEST DON’T WORRY BE CRABBY BET: Remember when you could set a crab pot off the Homer docks and take home a nice king crab? Well, things have changed a bit. As part of its exhibit, “When Crab was King,” at 5 p.m. today the Pratt Museum holds “A Crabby Colloquium: Recent Research and Fishery Management Perspectives,” with presentations by Megan Murphy and Elisa Russ and Ken Goldman of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They’ll talk about the non-commercial tanner crab fishery in Kachemak Bay.


BEST DON’T STAY HUNGRY BET: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish,” was Steve Jobs’ advice in his famous graduation speech at Reed College, Portland, Ore., but he didn’t mean that literally. Sometimes even computer geniuses need a meal. Grab a bite to eat and break bread with your fellow citizens in the Homer United Methodist Church’s free community meal from 5:30-7 p.m. today.


BEST NEVER TOO LATE BET: Well, “too late” would be Christmas Day, but until then, hey, there’s nothing like the last minute. If you’re still working your way through your shopping list, check out The Procrastinator’s Fair from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Elks Lodge. There will be kids crafts to make cards and decorate cookies. About 20 vendors also offer handmade products like jewelry, wooden spoons, ornaments, stained class as well as educational and cool toys.


BEST SING AWAY BET: Put on your top hat and warm up those vocal cords with a bit of old fashioned Christmas caroling from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Meet at the Homer Council on the Arts at 11 a.m. and carol around town at assisted living and other selected homes. Music will be provided.


BEST UFO BET: That’s “unidentified festive object,” also known as Santa Claus. Jolly Old Saint Nick makes a pre-Christmas fly-in by helicopter at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mile 1.5 Ohlson Mountain Road, Todd and Mary Kate Green’s home. There’s an open house from noon to 4 p.m., too.


BEST GET CRAFTY BET: Make all sorts of cool art, including wreaths or penguins using marine debris. Find animal tracks, too, make ornaments and just have a heck of a lot of fun at P.L.A.Y., or Play And Learning Activities for You from 1-3 p.m. Monday at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Hint: some of these things would make cool gifts for parents.


BEST SKATE AWAY BET: Santa Claus will be warming up for the big night with a Christmas Eve skate from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena. Join the jolly guy at the free skate so you can be all tuckered out and sleep tight that night.

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