Christmas in Petersburg

Our Christmas this year is spent in Petersburg, Alaska. Also known as “Little Norway” this is a a wonderful place for some holiday cheer. Getting here was not so great. We spent over an hour on the tarmac in Seattle while Alaska Air struggled to get one of the plane’s engines started. Not something that instills confidence. It finally starts and we are on our way to Juneau. While on final approach, the captain suddenly aborts the landing, retracts the landing gear, and gives the plane full throttle. What’s that all about? A few minutes later, we learn there was just a 5.4 magnitude earthquake as we were on final approach. The runway must be checked before we can land. That’s a first for us! Our flight to Petersburg is held for us as there are twenty six people on the Juneau flight going there. All in all Alaska Air does a great job of getting us and our luggage to Petersburg.

With Idyll Time all winterized we decide to stay at the Broom Hus, a local bed and breakfast just across from South Harbor. Pete and Sylvia are great hosts and we really enjoy our stay here.

We are happy to find Idyll Time snug and dry under her cover. A few minor adjustments are made to the cover but other than that we find the boat in great shape.

Our Christmas week here is spent enjoying the festivities of Julebukking. So what is Julebukking? The original version of Julebukking comes from Scandinavia. Similar to our Halloween tradition, julebukkers ,wearing mask or costumes , would go door to door singing Christmas songs. They would then be given candy. Here in Petersburg, the tradition has changed somewhat with various businesses around town showing their appreciation to the community by providing food and drink to their customers. The various establishments take turns all throughout the week feeding customers delicious items such as smoked salmon, shrimp, soups and chowders, along with a plethora of homemade cookies. Each day there are at least three to four Julebukking hostings. This also provides a way for the Petersburg residents to socialize with each other during the holiday season.

There is a line out the door and down the street for the local drug store. This is their 50th year for serving pastrami sandwiches on rye bread flown in from New York.

Julebukking at the local bank

The Oxford Carolers add to the holiday cheer as they move between the various establishments singing Christmas carols.

The local hardware store provides the finale on Christmas Eve with their popular “Moose Milk”, a concoction of Tillamook French Vanilla ice cream and White Christmas liquor mixed together in their paint shaker.

French vanilla ice cream goes into the paint bucket
White Christmas liquor is added
it then goes in the paint mixer
Out comes Moose Milk

So what is the weather like in SE Alaska during the winter? Temperatures have been in the low 30’s most days with lots of rain. We did get a dusting of snow a few days before Christmas.

Unlike the summer months, there aren’t many hours of daylight during this time of year. Sunrise is about 8:30 am and the sun sets around 3:30. By 4PM you would think it was late at night and time for bed. Winter Solstice was just a few days ago so we are now getting a few more minutes of daylight each day. The summer cruising season will be here before we know it.

The Town Christmas Tree

Between all of the Julebukking activities, we attended the community Christmas Concert at the Lutheran Church. Petersburg has some very talented residents.

Christmas Concert

Petersburg certainly lives up to their nickname “ Little Norway” during this Christmas season. It was a great way to experience the holidays.

We will be back in the spring for another year of cruising the SE Alaska waters. Thanks for following along.

2 thoughts on “Christmas in Petersburg

  1. What an experience! Stalled engine, earthquakes, Julebukking, and Moose Milk! The photos are fantastic. We’re glad you had such a great time and thanks for sharing.

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