Ready or not..

The Christmas season is creeping inexorably closer.

The chubby, bearded fellow in the red coat has not yet made his way to the north end of Highway 19. But neither is his arrival far off.

Whether you like it or not, the Christmas season is upon us, so we might as well make the best of it.

Perhaps you’ve already visited the Port Hardy Hospital Auxiliary Society’s annual Christmas sale, running throughout the month at Thunderbird Mall.

If not, consider visiting one of the many community arts and crafts festivals coming in the next several weeks — beginning with the annual Sointula Winterfestival on Malcolm Island.

Many more fairs follow, in Port Alice, Alert Bay, Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Fort Rupert.

They are the perfect opportunity to find not only a unique and hand-made gift item for a friend or loved one. They’re even a better chance to keep your shopping dollars circulating in the local community (and save the gas on that down-Island trip).

If you’re bah-humbug about the idea of holiday spending, fine. You can still attend the craft fairs to mingle and visit with your neighbours and check out the edibles on offer.

Lots of local entertainment is on tap as well, from Highland and ballet dance shows to a Christmas concert, tree-lighting ceremonies and, yes, the local stops by the big guy himself.