Julia O'Malley: 25 ways to be merry in Anchorage

Julia O'Malley

The weather is static-electrifying my hair and there isn’t any real snow. I find it hard to get on my holiday spirit under these circumstances. I was complaining about this when I remembered a story my dad told me about how he had a similar problem years back. That year his doldrums lasted until Christmas eve, when he made a last-minute shopping pass through Nordstrom, and then met my Uncle Tom for a martini at Club Paris. Something about the energy of the Christmas eve shoppers and the warm atmosphere at the old bar put him in a holiday mood. He and my uncle have made a late December trip to Club Paris every year since.

This week I asked readers to share some simple ways to get a holiday boost. Here are 25 of their lowest-cost, highest-pay-off suggestions:

1) Bundle-up and scout for lynx tracks on the lesser-traveled trails at Kincaid Park.

2) Take a wreath-making class at Dimond Greenhouse.

3) Put antlers on the dog.

4) Read “A Christmas Memory,” by Truman Capote. When you’re done, send it to a faraway friend.

5) Stick your head inside the Kobuk Coffee Co. Inhale.

6) Shoot a family portrait in the frosty trees on the Palmer Hay Flats. Fortify with cocoa beforehand.

7) Go to the free Anchorage Concert Chorus holiday concert at the Anchorage Museum (on Dec. 9). Afterward browse the children’s toy exhibit. General admission to the museum is free that day, too.

8) Skate at Westchester when the bonfires are lit and the moon is out.

9) Splash a little rum in your nog.

10) Visit Bell’s Nursery to smell the Christmas trees. Maybe buy a poinsettia for the office.

11) If you’re picking up someone at the airport, go in and wait on the benches where passengers come out. Watch all the happy reunions. Then have your own.

12) Make a pilgrimage to Star the Reindeer on the corner of 10th Avenue and I Street.

13) Take the historic Swedish Christmas Tour of Oscar Anderson House (Dec. 8 and 9).

14) Keep an eye out for guerilla-decorated trees along city trails. Last year there were glass balls on the boughs at Kincaid and one rogue illuminated tree at University Lake. 

15) Break out the Christmas socks.

16) See International Animation for All Ages at the Anchorage International Film Festival (Dec. 8).

17) Visit the gingerbread village in the Hotel Captain Cook.

18) Cut down your own Christmas tree in the Chugach National Forest. (Check web site for details.)

19) Go to an Aces game and watch Scotty Gomez play.

20) Volunteer your time to help with a holiday charity. Take a child with you.

21) Hunt down some mistletoe (available at most local nurseries). Hang it up. See what happens.

22) Tune the car radio to the holiday station, that MAGIC 98.9.

23) Order a letter from Santa, postmarked in North Pole. (Visit Santa's Letters and Gifts or Santa Claus House, cost is $9.95.)

24) Sing along at the free Air Force Band of the Pacific concert (Dec. 3 and 4) or enjoy merry bellowing of Tubachristmas (Dec. 15).

25) My favorite, from cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl. “Tramp into the woods after dark with a headlamp. When you get somewhere dark and quiet, stop, turn off your headlamp, and watch the tendrils of your breath rise up toward the stars.”

Have more suggestions? Put them in the comments below.



Julia O'Malley
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