Sunday, December 08, 2013

Lead-up to Christmas

Christmas gong show season is in full effect down south, and Iqaluit is not exempt. Things will start getting crazier in town over the next week or so, then get weird during the mass exodus right after school ends, but then quietly and more intimately busy over the holidays.

So what do I mean by that?

Well, on Thursday there was a school choirs concert in town. Cathy and I missed that as she was working at the thrift shop and I continue my self-abuse/improvement at the gym. Friday night saw the annual Christmas ornament sale at Arctic College by the jewelry class. We've been going to that pretty much every year since we've been here. The first and second year students of the jewelry class make a bunch of northern influenced ornaments made of brass. Prices can go for $10 for a small, simple piece to $40 or $50 for a more intricate ornament.

When we first started going, the sale would start at 5 p.m. and you would show up 10 minutes beforehand, take a look at everyones ornaments, settle on a couple and that was that. I'd say over the years we've probably acquired about a dozen ornaments for ourselves and almost the same amount to give to other people as gifts. They're a nice local craft, and you get to support art students.

It's....escalated over the last few years. For example, Cathy went to line-up at 4:30 last year and was the third person in line. This year we showed up at 4:30 and we had about a dozen or more people in front of us. When 5 p.m. came around it was a free-for-all, with everyone pushing through to the table and grabbing pretty much anything they could find. The sale was essentially over by 5:05 p.m. We managed to grab a couple (one for us, one for a gift), but man, it's getting a little crazy at that sale. Good for the artists, who are making money, but you don't actually get to see much of their art. I only got to see what was on the table when comparing ornaments with others afterwards.

They might want to reconsider how they do things for next year. As I said, it's getting a bit crazy, all for the chance to grab one of, maybe, 50 ornaments.

The other big Christmas events were on Saturday, with the slightly screwed up combination of the major Christmas Craft Fair taking place at 11 a.m. and the Santa Claus parade starting at noon. To be fair, I think the parade had dibs, it's normally the first Saturday in December and the craft fair is normally a couple of weeks earlier. But it did make it a bit chaotic yesterday.

The craft sale is another level of madness. We showed up a good hour and 20 minutes before the doors opened and we were not at the front of the line. There was at least a dozen or more people there ahead of us. It's not at the point where people are going to start camping out for that craft sale, but it's starting to feel like it. It's one of your best chances to get local Christmas gifts, but it's also one of the main social events of the season. I won't say everyone in town goes, but a lot of the town shows up. So you're as much stopping as you are saying hi to people.

(Apologies for the blurry photos. Still getting use to the new iPhone. Note to self, remove Pro HDR from the list of camera apps to use.)

This was a pretty good year. Part of it was they opened up the second floor of the school to more table, which spread the crowd out a little more. Plus, the sale can be hit and miss. Some years there is a ton of really cool stuff. Other years, it feels like a lot of southern related junk is there.  We pulled in a pretty good, mostly for ourselves. Well, we don't need to buy much for others. At least that's the excuse we're going with.

Then there was the Santa Claus parade. I suspect because of the competing craft fair, it was a touch disappointing this year. Not as many floats. But Santa was there, and there were still lots of people marching along the parade route, waving and filled with some Christmas cheer.

School concerts will be coming up next week and then once school ends, the exodus begins. I'd say about a third of Iqaluit will leave for Christmas. A lot go south, but also a lot of Inuit will go visit family in their home communities. Iqaluit become a much quieter place during Christmas. It's nice. We'll be here as we went back to Newfoundland last year. This year it's in town. Which will be nice. Something to be said to waking up Christmas morning in your own bed and then having to do nothing but laze around for the day because you don't have 100 family and friend commitments. It's quite relaxing...

Last Five
1. The freezedown - Gramercy Riffs
2. That was your mother - Paul Simon
3. Waiting for a miracle - Bruce Cockburn
4. Be mine - Alabama Shakes
5. Night sky - CHVRCHES

1 comment:

John, Canberra AU said...

Hey, Ice Road Truckers made it to the North Pole!