It’s Dec. 22: The first day of our last weekend before Christmas. Time to rush here, rush there, go to the mall, the mega grocery store, wait at traffic lights, purchase just the right gift made in China, mutter curses in silent parking space battles, try to merge when nobody wants to slow down to let your car onto the freeway. As Peggy Lee used to sing, “Is this all there is?”
In fact, there is much more to Christmas if you just cool your heels here on Whidbey Island and enjoy yourself. Our shops are still open and they have plenty of stuff to please everyone in the family. A country drive to Langley, Freeland or Clinton is better than Alderwood by a country mile.
Shopping all done? Then get out and enjoy your time on Whidbey. How long has it been since you’ve gone to church? Thousands of South Whidbey residents go every Sunday, but thousands of others do not. Christmas church listings can be found on pages 12 and 13 of today’s Record. Bring the kids; rekindle your own memories of Christmas at church, with children replaying the night Christ was born, the sweet sound of choirs with their traditional Christmas music, and just the feeling of peace one finds in such a surrounding, comfortably sitting with family, friends and strangers who suddenly look friendly.
Get outside and take a walk. Winter on Whidbey is beautiful, if subdued. There’s plenty of evergreen trees, madronas, salal and evergreen huckleberries. The alders are mostly missing their leaves by now, but you might sport a big, yellow maple leaf clinging to its branch.
Watch for birds. Frances Wood, the South Whidbey Record birding columnist, has a website listing 41 Whidbey places to see birds, not counting your own backyard. Go to www.franceswood.net and find out what you’re looking at and listening to. It’s not only cheep, it’s free.
Try walking at night time down some lonely lane or road. Keep a light handy in case a car appears, but try walking in the dark. You might hear owls hooting or coyotes yipping, or just the sound of silence, so impossible to “hear” on the mainland. Look for a hole in the clouds, we even have stars. Commune with nature while thinking about what Christmas really means.
It’s often an ugly world we live in, and that’s what is endlessly reported on the evening news. But we have peace on Whidbey and it’s easy to find. So relax and have yourself a very merry Whidbey Christmas.