Naujaat’s annual holiday activities are all about Christmas spirit, a sense of community, quality time with the family, a few good laughs with friends and neighbours, and taking the time to really celebrate life, said the community’s senior administrative officer this past week.
And, if you happen to win a few times during the eight days of games and activities, or have your ticket pulled on New Year’s Eve for a really nice prize, that’s a bonus.
Rob Hedley said the holiday activities were discussed during a regular meeting of hamlet council this past week, with the general consensus around the table being the activities went well and were well-received by the community.
He said the feedback received by the hamlet was generally positive in regards to the event.
“The weather wasn’t the greatest on New Year’s Eve to close it all out, but it was nice enough for
everyone to have a bit of fun,” said Hedley.
“The fireworks display went over well, and there’s always a lot of excitement when it’s time to draw for the winners of two Calm Air tickets, a couple of new TVs, and some other pretty nice prizes.
“We had our community breakfast on Dec. 22, and the games began on Dec. 24.
“Christmas Day sees the Catholic church put on some games and hold a community feast and, after that, the hamlet is pretty much responsible for everything until New Year’s Day.”
Hedley said the hamlet spent about $20,000 on prizes this year, as well as $3,000 to $4,000 on the feasts and other incidentals.
He said an elder get-together is held every year at the local health centre, and it still remains a popular activity today with both the elders and the healthcare workers.
“The hamlet also does the fireworks display. Our Co-op orders the fireworks earlier in the year and then saves them for us until we’re ready to pick them up.
“It’s the family variety of fireworks and they put on a darn good show for the community.
“Normally, every year, a lot of our youth supervisors and – because the arena is usually closed during the time – our arena supervisors chip in and really help out a lot.
“We’ll get as many volunteers as we need to have everything run as it should, but mostly everything held during the eight days is run by the hamlet.”
Hedley said the hamlet tries to avoid putting too much focus on one or two special events and making the others pale in comparison.
He said it does its best to make the eight days seem like one big event that flows smoothly across the holiday season.
“There’s not really one climatic event other than, possibly, New Year’s Eve with its bigger prizes and the fireworks signalling the end of the holiday activities.
“We try to spread things throughout the Christmas season as much as we possibly can so everyone stays relatively excited for whatever is being held on any given day.
“We also try our best to make sure we have at least one thing that appeals to every age group, but that’s something we’re always tweaking based on what works well with a targeted group and what doesn’t.
“We really do try to have something for everyone while working with the resources we have.”
Hedley said the holiday activities are really looked forward to by the community every year, and a lot of it is communal celebration that’s a load of fun.
He said just about everyone in Naujaat pitches in and gets involved so that every activity has a sense of community about it.
“We use the elementary school gym because of the amount of response we get. Our maximum would be 300 if we were in the community hall but we can accommodate 600 in the school.
“We have some people who are not really into the games all that much, but they still come out because they want to be there to feel that sense of community.
“A lot of it is simply that people like to get together, go visiting and celebrate what many see as the best time of the year.”