Ah, December in Alaska, when the short days get even shorter and daylight is a thing of the past for northern parts of the State. But we Alaskans don’t let that slow us down! There is still so much to do and enjoy all over the State. Check out these 10 Things to Do in Alaska in December and get busy!
Things to Do in Alaska in December
1. Midnight Madness in Wrangell
The quaint town of Wrangell down in southeast Alaska has Midnight Madness and Christmas Tree Lighting, always on the first Friday in December, which happens to be December 2nd this year. The festivities kick off at 6pm and include a Christmas celebration, homemade food, arts and crafts and of course, the Christmas Tree Lighting (that tree is huge!). This is a great place for some late night local shopping. It sounds like Santa Claus just might be there too…
2. Christmas Kick-Off in Cordova
Also kicking off on December 2nd, in the fishing town of Cordova, the Chamber Christmas Kick-Off and Bidarki Holiday Bazaar are happening!
After the tree lighting, we can all head over to Mt. Eccles Elementary School for the Annual Bidarki Bazaar to find great handcrafts and local vendors who have just the right thing for your Christmas shopping list.”
Starting off on the 2nd and continuing every Friday until Christmas is the “Moonlight Madness,” which is when the local merchants stay open a bit later to help you get in all your local shopping!
3. The Gallery Walk in Juneau
Also happening on December 2nd, in Alaska’s State capitol, Juneau, is the Downtown Gallery Walk, an “extraordinary celebration of food, friends, and art.” Check out local artists and grab some snacks! Starts at 4:30pm.
4. Winterfest in the Shadow of Denali
The Talkeetna Winter Fest starts off on December 2nd with the Annual Motorized Parade of Lights, which begins at 7pm. Over December 2nd and 3rd is the Wilderness Woman Contest and the Bachelor Auction and Ball. Later on December 10th is the Annual Taste of Talkeetna, which is from 4pm to 8pm.
5. Enjoy Colony Christmas in Downtown Palmer
Colony Christmas in downtown Palmer packs a LOT of activities into one weekend! From December 9th through the 11th, enjoy the Parade of Lights, the gingerbread contest, cookie contest, Winter Triathlon, the Fire Circus performance, a chili feed, a pancake breakfast, caroling, candlelight yoga, several Holiday Bazaars around town (Klondike Mike’s, United Protestant Church, Palmer Senior Center, Palmer Depot, and the Borough Gym), and the Smoosh Race (it’s hilarious!). There will be Christmas movies at the Palmer Moose Lodge too! Be sure to follow them on Facebook to get all the details for where and when every day!
6. Run with Santa
Check out the Santa 5K Fun Run in Christmas Towne! Christmas Towne is a little “village” that pops up in Chugiak, Alaska, and is full of local vendors, Christmas lit forest trails to walk, bake cookies, take a sled dog ride, make ornaments with Mrs. Claus, and much more! While Christmas Towne is open every Thursday through Sunday, starting November 17th through December 18th (except they’re closed on Thanksgiving), the Santa Fun Run is on December 1oth. There are even special prizes for those first to cross the finish line wearing a Santa, Mrs. Claus, elf, reindeer, or ugly sweater costume. All proceeds go to purchasing gifts for foster children this Christmas, so it’s fun and supports a great cause!
7. Watch a Film Worth Freezing For
Enjoy a collection of great movies at the Anchorage International Film Festival! From December 2nd through the 11th, check out this “outstanding program of features, documentaries, animation, shorts, and, of course, the Made In Alaska category, keeping up our reputation of having “Films Worth Freezing For”!” Get your tickets online or at the Beartooth Theater in Anchorage.
8. Julebukking in Petersburg
Enjoy this wonderful tradition of julebukking in Petersburg, the “Little Norway” of Alaska. The week before Christmas, local merchants have “seafood delights, familiar Norwegian pastries and warming spirits in appreciation of their business during the past year.” What a wonderful way to get your last minute Christmas shopping done!
9. Ski by Candlelight
On New Year’s Eve, join this free community event that is the Luminary Ski. The Divide Ski Trails located at mile 12 of the Seward Highway are lit with ice luminaries. Everyone is welcome to join in walking, skiing, or snowshoeing, and hot cocoa, cider, and a campfire are provided! Parking is limited, so they recommend car pooling. Don’t forget to wear lots of layers and a headlamp!
10. Shop Local
December is the month overflowing with Christmas Bazaars. These little “pop up shopping malls” are wonderful places to find those unusual, handmade gifts and tasty treats AND shopping at them is a huge boost to your local economy. I’m sure I haven’t listed them all, but here’s a few for you to add to your shopping list.
Seward Holiday Arts and Craft Fair, Dec. 2-3, Seward Intermodal Facility, 913 Port Avenue Seward, AK
Polaris Craft Bazaar, Dec. 3, Polaris K12 School, 6200 Ashwood Street Anchorage, AK
Tanana Valley Farmers Market Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 3, Carlson Center, Fairbanks, AK
North Pole Winterfest Bazaar, Dec. 3, North Pole Plaza Mall, North Pole, AK
Anchorage Noel Bazaar and Bake Sale, Dec. 3, Anchorage Senior Activity Center, 1300 East 19th Avenue Anchorage, AK
December Indoor Flea Market and Craft Fair, Dec. 3, Crosspoint Community Church, 1920 W Dimond Blvd, Ste K Anchorage, AK
Butte Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 3, Butte Elementary School, Palmer, AK
Sitka Artisans Market, Dec. 2-4, Allen Hall at the Sheldon Jackson Campus, Sitka, AK
Colony Christmas Craft Fairs, Dec. 9-11, Train Depot, Borough Gym, Mat-Su Senior Services, Palmer, AK (The hubby and I will be selling our Happy Bison Grillin’ Sauces at the Mat-Su Senior Services on Dec. 10th. Come see us!)
Nikiski Christmas Craft Fair, Dec. 10, North Peninsula Recreation Service Area, Nikiski, AK
Christkindlmarkt German Holiday Market, Dec. 10, Rilke Schule, 1846 E. 64th Avenue Anchorage, AK
Christmas Village, Dec. 17, Dena’ina Center, Anchorage, AK
Winter Solstice Festival, Dec. 17-18, Palmer Middle School, Palmer, AK
(There are a few November events that happen through December, so don’t forget to check out 8 Things to Do in Alaska in November!)
What would you add to this list of Things to Do in Alaska in December? Add them in the comments!