For many, the best part about the holidays is how everyone comes together in celebration and takes time to focus on the simple joy and happiness derived from reconnecting with family and friends, old and new.

The communities themselves also have a great deal of goings on from parades to feasts to decorating contests and special, exclusive visits from Old St- Nick.

The Nation’s Elves have once again done their best to get the skinny on what will be going on in the nine communities, though information from some from some of the communities was not available at press time.

The community of Eastmain, will be kicking off their holiday celebrations with the Christmas Elders Party organised by the elders council to be held at the Cultural Centre (most likely) December 22. On the following day, December 23, the community will also be hosting “Christmas on Ice” at the Stajune River Complex. So bring the kids for some family fun! Christmas Eve will also bring the annual outdoor Christmas decorating contest so get your lights and ornaments ready! New Years’ fun and games will also be held at the complex gymnasium with simple contests that everyone can participate in.

Eastmain also has plans for the following events though they have yet to solidify actual dates for these activities:-A Santa Claus Parade that will this year include a float-decorating contest“Community Snack Day” during which residents will be invited to spend a day of sharing their favourite snacks with the community

The Annual WETA Christmas Radio Show – families are invited to air their holiday wishes live on the radio

A community feast will also happen at some point during the week between Christmas and New Years, possibly for New Year’s Eve.

For more information please contact Jamie Moses at (819) 977-2010 at work or at home (819) 977-0306.

The community of Mistissini will be hosting an Elders Feast sometime around December 27 or 28, when the whole hullabaloo of Christmas has had a few days to cool off. Not to be missed however is Mistissini’s biggest celebration of the year, their now 10th annual promotion of sobriety New Year’s Eve Bash, proving once again that sober parties can be successful. This year’s edition will feature even more fabulous prizes than ever! The bash will host a raffle for $10,000 worth in goods to make a cabin, a voucher for $1000 for air travel, tickets to see

Rod Stewart in Montreal including air travel and hotel, a $5000 give away and the grand prize, a Toyota tundra truck from Toyota St-Félicien. The party itself will feature a big feast, games, dancing, and a mix dance that will feature square dancing and disco. This two-day event will feature loads of party fun on New Years Eve, with the big raffle going down on New Year’s Day.

For those looking to help out the needy of Mistissini this holiday season, The Wreath of Hope Campaign is still taking donations. Every year, local grocer, Meechum Reg’d, sets up an account where community members and business can make either anonymous or public donations. Says Irene Quinn: “At Christmas time we send out letters to clients and customers and ask for monetary donations for the Wreath of Hope and what it is, is a fund that helps family through the holiday season as well as through out the year.” The funds generated are handled by social services and the local CHR in joint venture with people at the band office and then redistributed to those needy from a confidential master list held by social services. Last year about $20,000 was collected to help families in need and this year the goal is about the same. The baskets will be filled with a turkey and all of the fixings for a Christmas dinner meal, a turkey, stuffing candies, drinks and other gifts along with a voucher for groceries depending on the size of the family.

Those looking to contribute can go to the Meechum Reg’d, 136 Amanda St., Mistissini, to make their donation.

Waswanipi has a metric tonne of activities for the holidays going on starting on December 23 with the Children’s Christmas Supper at the Youth Centre. Santa will be there giving out goodies from his bottomless bag of magic and the whole event is put on by the National Child Benefit Strategy.

On Christmas Eve, a children’s Christmas tree decorating contest will be held for kids aged 6-12 who want to decorate trees inside and outside of their homes. For the grown ups a Christmas lighting Contest for the community, for those who want to make the exteriors of their homes festive. Those looking to participate must register first with Michael Neposh.

Santa will be making a grand appearance in his very own parade on Christmas Day; festivities begin at 3 pm so bundle up the little ones for some family fun outside.

After all of the indulgence of Christmas day, those interested can burn some of it off on Boxing Day during a family sliding and tubing trip to Chibougamau. Though there will be a bus to the event, all children must have signed consent forms and be accompanied by an adult. Those interested in this free trip can contact Gloria Joly.