Kugluktuk goes all out for holidays in face of pandemic
Residents get festive with Christmas hampers, radio bingo, holiday lights contest and scavenger hunt
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the western Nunavut community of Kugluktuk has come up with new ways to get festive during the holidays.
“We worked extra hard this year,” said Nadene McMenemy, a volunteer with the hamlet’s Christmas committee.
“Everything is done virtually online or differently.”
Like everywhere in Nunavut, there are public health restrictions limiting the number of people who can gather in one place.
So the committee decided to cancel its popular annual dress-up gala and trade it in for a fireworks display and “make sure that everyone has a hot meal and presents for the kids,” she said.
Every household in the community of about 1,500 will receive a Christmas hamper on Dec. 22 with ham, turkey and all the fixings for a big supper along with $40 worth of cleaning supplies, McMenemy said.
That’s not all.
Among the new activities are a children’s breakfast program, a virtual talent show, virtual jigging contest, cake-decorating contest, children’s bingo and a free radio bingo for adults with prizes including money and meat packs.
There’s also been an outdoor Christmas lighting contest, homemade stocking contest, a snow and ice sculpture contest and a Christmas parade.
There will be a Christmas Eve church service broadcast over the radio at 11 p.m.
On Christmas Day, all children in Kugluktuk will receive a present to open. Then, at 6 p.m., everyone will get outside and make some noise to thank their essential workers, McMenemy said.
Boxing Day will feature an outside family scavenger hunt. Participants will get a list of items and will have until 10 p.m. to find it all.
Prizes include food baskets and gift certificates.
A New Year’s Eve radio party with prizes and games will cap off celebrations.
Kugluktuk’s Christmas committee not only came up with ideas, but also raised the money to carry them off: more than $100,000, including donations from many companies and businesses.
“Kugluktuk is a little community that does big things. That’s what I think.” McMenemy said.
“We’re used to making it on your own.”