Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Happy holidays, neighbors.

Me thinks this season got here too quickly and is rushing by like reindeer in the wind. Perhaps we had better take a few minutes to slow down and remember the reason for the season. This holiday is vibrant and filled with so much activity that sometimes we tend to get lost in the details and forget to stop and actually enjoy the beauty and the emotion of this time of year. Never in the year is there so much mail, so much shopping (except for permanent fund dividend time), so much baking, sewing, wrapping and giving as there is in the pre-Christmas weeks.

Take a drive around town to see the light displays creative neighbors have built; take time to smile at the cold person ringing The Salvation Army bell while you drop your donation in the bucket; and don't forget to call someone whose voice you haven't heard for a long time.

There's a million ways to make this holiday season special, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, with family or alone. It's the best time of the year to be our best selves and remember those around us.

A way to add a little magic to the season might be to hire the Kenai Performers Victorian carolers during this week to sing for you. They will come to your place of business, home, party or event dressed in Victorian costumes to offer you an a capella serenade. Call Crista Cady Hippchen at 262-2825 to book your time through Friday.

Welcome home to returning students and families. A special welcome to Devon and Amber Winegarden, who are here to spend the holidays with grandparents Charles and JoCarol Winegarden and Emma and Sydney.

The official Christmas party at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center will be Wednesday at noon. There will be caroling, food, eggnog and Christmas cheer. You can take part in the gift exchange if you choose to (don't spend more than $5 or $10), and Santa will be there to help with the fun. The senior's own Kenai Bell Ringers will give a special presentation, and there are sure to be Christmas carols.

On Christmas Day, the center will be open for those who would like to come to the potluck dinner. The center will provide the meat and potatoes; bring a side dish and-or dessert. The doors will be open at 9 a.m. and dinner is served at noon. Sign up or call 283-4156 if you plan to attend. You are welcome to volunteer, too.

Did you know the senior center is in the transportation business? Seniors can call the center and they'll line up the details. They can transport people around Kenai for just a $1 donation or $5 for a trip to Soldotna for doctor's appointments, prescription pick-ups, shopping, etc. This service is offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Call 283-4256 for details.

Registration for the Boys and Girls Club's seventh- and eighth-grade basketball season will continue through Dec. 29. Stop by or call 283-2682 to sign up. Fees are $50 per child on or before Dec. 29, $60 afterward.

While you are taking all those holiday photos, keep in mind there is to be an open photo show sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Photo Guild at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center in January. The photos must have been taken in Alaska, be framed and ready to hang, and there is a three-image maximum. The deadline for entries is during business hours Jan. 10 through 12. E-mail William Heath at for more information.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the Kenai Peninsula Inc. is looking for students to help design its logo. It rescues domestic animals as well as livestock, so the logo must be unique. The deadline is Dec. 30. The winner will receive a trophy and a $50 savings bond. Submit entries to: SPCA of the KP Inc., P.O. Box 231, Sterling, AK 99672-0231, Attn: Michele DeMilta. Include your phone number.

Congratulations to peninsula filmmakers on their newly completed film, "Echo Lake." This locally filmed movie will be shown through the holidays every evening, except Friday through Sunday and Jan. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium. Admission is $7.50 to evening shows and $5 for the matinees shown Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the Kenai Mail Station, Charlotte's and at the door.

Birthday greetings go out today to Mary Booth, Tara Frates, Mary Keck, Richard Syvrud, James Pruit and my delightful grandson, Levi Derek Hansen; Wednesday: Mary Ferguson, Noah Green, Thomas Perry and Theresa Winegarden; Thursday: Mary Jo Lange; Friday: Elsie Sidback, Daniels Issacs and Dan Issacs; Saturday: Dorothy Johnson, Jack Welch, Matt Swarner and Willow-Haven Walaszek; Sunday: Doris Wilson; and Monday: Emma Brenner, Samantha Calderwood, Irene Rzepka, Tommy Thompson, Fred Maier and Jimmie English.

I wish Corey and Bruce Hall a happy 21st anniversary Friday.

Merry Christmas to all of you from me and my hero, Hans. We have loved spending another year amid some of the best people on Earth, in the best place on Earth. Thanks for being our neighbors.

Joan Hansen can be reached by phone at 283-5872 or by email at

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