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Alaska Life

Here are seasonal festivities in Anchorage and Mat-Su to get you in the holiday spirit

People walk the Mize Loop at Kincaid Park to view 30 trees that were decorated for Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage's Solstice Tree Tour on Dec. 17, 2017. Local businesses sponsor trees for the unique celebration of winter solstice and the return of longer days. (Bill Roth / ADN archive)

While Anchorage residents navigate life in a modified “hunker-down,” some holiday traditions are continuing — albeit with some pandemic-related changes. There are outdoor celebrations, drive-thru events and virtual options for those who may be wary of leaving the house.

Note: Families should use their best judgment in light of CDC guidelines and recommendations from the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services when deciding whether to attend a public event. If you have questions about the safety protocols in place for an event, research it in advance or reach out to the organizers or venue.

Coming soon

Outdoor Winter Market — Stop by Double Shovel for food trucks and vendors for your holiday shopping needs. Free. Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Double Shovel Cider Co., 502 W. 58th Ave. Unit C. (See Facebook for details)

Solstice Tree Tour 2020 — The Mize Loop at Kincaid Park will be decorated with lights by the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage for this fifth annual event. Decorations will be up through the end of the year. Free. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13. See their Facebook event for details. Kincaid Park, 9401 Raspberry Road.

Winter Birding 101 — What better way to keep yourself entertained during hunker-down than with a new hobby? Naturalist Liza Sanden will cover the basics of identifying winter birds. Free. 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Search Facebook for details. Online via Zoom.

Hanukkah on Fire — Take the family to a live, drive-in festival featuring the Blaze Amaze Fire Show by national performer Jason D’Vaude while eating delectable shawarma wraps, potato kugels and doughnuts prepared by chef Peter Fontanez. Tickets are limited. $15-$20. 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13. South Anchorage High School Drive-In Theater, 13400 Elmore Road. (See for tickets and details)

Annual Chanukah Celebration — Celebrate the season with fireworks, delicious Chanukah treat boxes and a menorah lighting hosted by the Mat-Su Jewish Center. Free. 5:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16. Search Annual Chanukah Celebration on Facebook for more details. Palmer pavilion, 723 S. Valley Way. (Find the event on Facebook or

Alaska Chamber Singers holiday concert — Listen to holiday favorites and classical gems from the Anchorage Chamber Singer. Free. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec, 18. Online via YouTube.

Big Lake solstice skate — Get out of town with the family for a night of ice skating while you snack on popcorn and hot cocoa. Access to boathouse bathrooms available. Free. 12-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Big Lake, 5322 S. Big Lake Road.

A Very Covid Christmas — Have a Zoom call with Santa or visit his workshop from the comfort of your own car. Families can stop by the church’s parking lot, where an outdoor movie will be on repeat, with supplies available to write letters to Santa. Free. 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. See Facebook for more details. Awaken Church, 5295 Juneau St.

Winter Wonderdeck at Williwaw Social — This EO-16 compliant charity event will feature food and drink from the Alaska Burger Co. on the front deck. Seating under patio heaters is limited. Donations encouraged for Toys for Tots. 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturdays through Dec. 19. Williwaw Social, 609 F St. (See Facebook for details)

Anchorage Concert Chorus’ family holiday pops concert — Dress up in your finest holiday garb, sip on some hot cocoa and tune into the Anchorage Concert Chorus’ annual event. Free. 4 p.m. Premiering Sunday, Dec. 20. Online via YouTube.

Live nativity drive-thru — Listen to Christmas carols on your car radio and witness a live nativity scene without having to leave your vehicle. Santa might even make an appearance and deliver goodie bags to each family. Nonperishable food accepted as donations. 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. See Facebook for more details. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 3230 Lake Otis Parkway.

Santa at the Dimond Center — While guests can’t sit on Santa’s lap this year, he will still be making his annual appearance at the Dimond Center. Prices vary. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9 through Wednesday, Dec. 23; Dec. 24 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dimond Center, 800 E. Dimond Blvd. See Facebook for details.

New Year’s Eve Celebration — Celebrate the end of 2020 and the start of a new year with some New Year’s Eve festivities. From kid-friendly fireworks to food and musical acts, there will be something for every age to enjoy. Free. 5-8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 31. Chinook Parking Lot, Third Avenue and E Street. (

Ongoing events

Alaska Crafters Market — Browse for gifts and goodies in this virtual holiday market, featuring local businesses like Alaska Concrete Collective, Mad Lab Collars, Brecht Studio and more. $50-$100. Through Thursday, Dec. 31. (

A Tlingit Christmas Carol — This modern take on a classic Christmas tale is sure to entertain all ages. Written by Tlingit and Dena’ina playwright Vera Starbard, who also writes for the PBS Kids show “Molly of Denali.” Episodes broken up into five 30-minute installations will be released one at a time, beginning Nov. 27, with the final chapter released on Christmas Day. Free. Online through multiple platforms, see for details.

Christmas Lights Drive-Thru — Hop in the car, turn on the radio and enjoy a display of festive lights all while social distancing. Free. 6-8 p.m. Daily through Dec. 22. ACF Church, 16620 Brooks Loop.

Virtual Reindeer Farm Tour — Grab your hot cocoa, blanket and curl up at home while watching Santa’s reindeer from the comfort of your home. Or, enjoy an in-person tour with a personal meet-and-greet with Santa Claus himself, where children can hand-feed reindeer, bison and moose. $13-$30. By appointment only; see website for availability (visitors will be limited and some events modified to ensure social distancing). Williams Reindeer Farm, V5561 S. Bodenburg Loop. (

Ice Rink at Town Square — Grab a pair of skates and spin into the winter season. Free. 9-10 p.m. daily through Feb. 7. Town Square Park, 544 W. Fifth Ave.

Light Up Downtown — Stroll through the streets on this walking tour and admire the light installations while feeling the holiday spirit. Free. 4:30-11 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Various locations in downtown Anchorage. (

Zoo Lights — Brighten up your weekend with a trip to the Alaska Zoo, perusing through custom light displays and animations. The last available entry to the zoo is 30 minutes prior to closing. $10-$15, children ages 2 and under free. 5-8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with additional Zoo Lights daily Dec. 18 through Jan. 3. Alaska Zoo, 4731 O’Malley Road. (