Kugluktuk goes all out for holidays in face of pandemic

Residents get festive with Christmas hampers, radio bingo, holiday lights contest and scavenger hunt

Mavis Kaotak Mulgrew, dressed in warm caribou clothing, poses with her first-place winning entry in the float category of Kugluktuk’s Dec. 20 Christmas parade. (Photo by Lori Rudyk)

By Jane George

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.

Ida Jane Kapakatoak is seen here with her first-place entry in the snowmobile category of Kugluktuk’s Christmas parade. (Photo by Lori Rudyk)

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.”

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by trapper Don on

    Awesome job, I can see why you won. Things like this makes the World a better place. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Posted by Derek Elias on

    I miss being home in Kugluktuk for the holidays.

  3. Posted by Gordon Launchbury on

    Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.
    Sincerely

  4. Posted by Kugluktuk Girl on

    Always love the Christmas spirit at home. Would be nice to see Cambridge Bay get festive.

    • Posted by Mike on

      Hello kug girl. CAMBRIDGE BAY already in Christmas spirit. Our main street is lit up with led lights and huge led coloured full inuksuk. Huge parade/food hampers for anyone/indoor and outdoor decorating contest and etc. Our community is considered to be one of the top community’s to be a healthy living community with less drugs and more job opportunities for our youth. MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY NEW YEAR

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