As of Tuesday, December 4, 2018
CLEARWATER VALLEY O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches? Creatively decorated trees, wreaths, swags and the happy voices of children and adults of all ages filled the American Legion Hall in Kamiah last Saturday. This was part of a weekend-long olde-fashionned Christmas celebration organized by the Upriver Youth Leadership Council and many partners. Painting winter scenes, making Christmas cards, Santa hats, wreaths, garlands and ornaments, going for mule-drawn “carriage” rides around town, learning some dance steps and of course eating various treats were included in the day. Great to see so many people trying different activities and visiting with friends and neighbors. I stopped by the Kooskia holiday farmers’ market to see Santa and check out the vendor booths. Melissa Knapton has done a great job this year creating a Farmers Market community in Kooskia with the participation of local artisans.
If you like the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree, thank an immigrant. The Christmas tree tradition originated in ancient Livonia, the modern-day Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia as early as the year 1441. The tradition of bringing a tree indoors and decorating become widespread by the 1800s and German immigrants brought the tradition to the United States.
If all this talk of Christmas trees has inspired you to go cut a tree, here are some great local options. If you want a family adventure, you can go out on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and cut your own tree. (When I lived in Salmon, I used to cross-country ski with the dogs to find my tree.) Christmas tree tags cost only $5 each. If you want to cut one for Grandma too, while you’re out there, each family can buy up to three tags. There’s a special deal for 4th graders, who can get a free Christmas tree tag at any National Forest office.
If you want to support a local “home-grown” tree business, you can cut a blue spruce tree for $25 at 1580 Roby Road, near Kamiah. They will cut your tree for you if you need help or forgot to bring your saw. Open seven days per week, call 208-935-1220. Another local business is McFeron’s Christmas Tree Farm, just across the river at Stites (2665 Luke’s Gulch Road). They sell U-Cut trees for $30. They also sell excellent raw local honey in different flavors, depending on which plants the bees pollinated. The smaller containers, pints and quarts would make a great addition to a gift basket. They also sell one gallon and five gallon sizes for people who are serious about their honey. Chunks of beeswax are sold for $7 per pound. Beeswax is great for making your own salves and lip balms.
Next up in Clearwater Valley events is the Harpster Old-Fashioned Christmas program on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. at the Harpster Community Center (aka the old Harpster Schoolhouse). I attended this last year and thought it was a really sweet, neighborly tradition, with singalongs, local musical talent, lots of homemade cookies and, of course, Santa. Santa makes everyone there feel special by handing out a small brown paper sack of goodies to each person in the room. If you attend, please bring six cookies per person in your group so there will be plenty to share. One of the highlights of the goody bag is a homemade popcorn ball. Jan Adams and others welcome anyone who wants to join in the popcorn ball making, goody bag filling and setting up chairs. They will gather at the community hall on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m.
If you are ready for some entertainment that has nothing to do with Christmas, there are two live theater productions coming up in Kamiah. The first is a Missoula Children’s Theater musical production of King Arthur’s Quest, featuring 50-60 local youth. The show will be on Saturday, Dec. 15. The Kamiah Characters drama group will be performing their latest play on Monday, Dec. 17, and Wednesday, Dec. 19. It is a lighthearted spoof of Star Wars and Star Trek called Star Tracks - the Exposition menace and is sure to be a fun one. Teachers Mr. Jody Dow and Ms. Taylie Hopkins do a great job directing the cast comprised of Kamiah high school and middle school students. I will include show times and ticket prices in next week’s column.
If you are getting overwhelmed by Christmas preparations, just take a deep breath and remember why!