Our holiday season on Whidbey Island is a whole lot less frenetic than it is in certain large cities and suburbs over there on the mainland.
Whidbey Island won’t be clotted traffic. No full-up parking lots. Or fraying tempers. Or rent-a-cops prowling the stores suspiciously evaluating every customer for shoplifting potential.
Instead of all this, Whidbey residents and visitors are likely to take in the annual Langley Christmas Parade at 11 a.m. on Dec. 5, or the Greening of Coupeville Parade and Tree Lighting at 4 p.m. on the same day.
In lieu of a mall, there’s the Bayview Holiday Market on the next three Saturdays—Dec. 5, 12 and 19—at the Bayview Community Hall. It’s sort of an indoor continuation of the Bayview Farmers Market that runs summer through October, with a seasonal emphasis on handmade craft gifts and holiday food.
There’s plenty of holiday entertainment here in the South Whidbey neighborhood without resorting to ferry and freeway. It ranges from the traditional (the Whidbey Island Dance Theatre is offering “The Nutcracker” for the 23rd straight year, Dec. 11-20) to the unusual (the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley presents a solstice concert with duo flamenco guitarists Eric & Encarnación on Dec. 20)
But Whidbey Island’s best holiday offering isn’t an event or program. It’s the intangible community spirit.
People watch out for their friends and neighbors, making sure nobody without nearby family has to eat Christmas dinner alone.
Store owners in Langley greet their local customers by name, and they’re never too busy for a friendly chat.
Some places in America, we hear, the holiday season is all about worrying whether the sales projections for Black Friday and Cyber Monday get fulfilled, and frantically pushing to get all the shopping done and entertaining planned and competitive decorations in place. On Whidbey Island we’re just a whole lot more casual, quiet, and reflective this season.
We’re about community, not commotion.