Holiday spirit runs high in Nunavik community
Christmas is a vibrant season in Akulivik
As far as holiday spirit goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place with more of it than Tukisiniarvik school in Akulivik, along Nunavik’s Hudson coast.
For the last few weeks, the mood at the school brightened as decorations went up and normally uninterested students stepped up to get involved in the celebrations.
As it happens each December, the school’s Christmas committee gets to work planning activities and events for staff, students and the community for the holiday festivities.
Tukisiniarvik’s hallways flash red and green. Each of the school’s classes have decorated their classroom doors to show what they love about this time of year: from a giant reindeer to shiny decorated trees and Santa riding a polar bear.
Christmas has always been a vibrant season in Akulivik, said the school’s centre director Laly Nappartuk, and it’s something that parents have passed down to their children.
“Christmas is just very important here,” Nappartuk said. “Our children find it very exciting, there are lots of gifts being exchanged and the celebration will carry on for another two weeks.”
Last week, each of Tukisiniarvik’s home rooms took part in a scavenger hunt and photo rally, where groups had to take photos around the school and community: a photo of someone hugging a stranger, one of a student shaking a police officer’s hand or the centre director making a funny face.
On Dec. 17, staff and students had breakfast with Santa Claus, when the group gathered in the gym to chow down on eggs, pancakes and sausages.
Feasting is an important part of the holidays, too, Nappartuk pointed out — school staff have already had a holiday feast, while the community centre will fill for many more over the next few weeks.
That will be on top of community games, contests and outdoor activities through the holidays.
David Loiselle, principal at Tukisiniarvik for the last 11 years, isn’t sure why Akulivik is so immersed in the holidays — but the holiday is certainly welcome.
It’s also given him reason to stay in town for Christmas this year, rather than visit family in southern Quebec.
“Just to see everyone’s faces, their smiles… that’s enough for us,” he said.