click to enlarge Tour the Campbell House on December 19.
Tour the Campbell House on December 19.

Sunday, Dec. 16

Celebrate Las Posadas

At some point in our nation’s political and cultural discourse, the November-December-January time period switched from “Christmastime” to “the holidays,” a fact self-proclaimed culture warriors like Bill O’Reilly are loathe to point out. In a nod to inclusiveness, those holidays usually mean Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year.

This year, consider adding one more to that list: Las Posadas. Admittedly, the holiday is entwined with Christmas (the religious iteration, not the Santa version), but the observance is more than that. Spanish for “the inns” or “accommodation” or “lodging,” Las Posadas takes on special significance in Spain and Mexico. It’s an extended cultural celebration, observed every year between Dec. 16 and 24, and recognizes the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and seeking shelter at “the inn” before the birth of Jesus.

It’s harder to find Las Posadas celebrations in the Inland Northwest, where Hispanic populations aren’t as prevalent as in, say, Central Washington or the U.S. Southwest. But that shouldn’t stop you from researching a little more. (SCOTT A. LEADINGHAM)

Monday, Dec. 17

Serve Your Server

It seems there’s no bottom to the pits of human indecency. (Just read our “Jeers” section.) That’s even (perhaps especially) true in the final throes of the pre-Christmas slog.

Though many people can retreat to their offices or cubicles, there are many other hearty souls who have to deal with we dreadful louts in their daily job. Your coffee shop or restaurant server, the grocery store or gas station clerk — you see them all the time. They put up with the worst humanity has to offer, usually with a smile.

For one day, put on your adult pants and say thank you the best way we know how — by buying them stuff. It needn’t be much: slip an extra $20 to your waitress with a sticky note saying “THANKS!” Or make gift bags of candy canes and a few lottery scratch tickets and give them to the morning-shift crew who makes your grande soy caramel frappa-crappo (with sprinkles).

Don’t worry, it’s just one day. You can go back to being a miserable, jaded oaf tomorrow. And your server will go back to doing his or her job with a slightly larger smile because of you. (SAL)

Tuesday, Dec. 18

Get (Runner’s) High

Only a week to go before the big day, when 24 hours of A Christmas Story concludes (oh, and something about that Jesus guy). Get out of the house, office or whatever hellish mall you’re trapped in and get outdoors. (Don’t worry, there’s beer involved.)

The SoHi (as in South Hill) Running Club runs every Tuesday at 6 pm from Hugo’s on the Hill, every week of the year. That’s right: run. In winter. Or jog. Or walk. Heck, crawl. All abilities are welcome for the three- to four-mile routes, and there’s no need to sign away your life or pay a membership fee. Afterward enjoy discounted beer and happy hour food specials at Hugo’s. Bright, reflective clothing and headlamps are encouraged.

Hugo’s on the Hill, 3023 East. 28th Ave, Spokane. 6 pm Questions: (SAL)

Wednesday, Dec. 19

Campbell House Tour

It’s easy during this season to get a case of friendly neighbor’s goods coveting.

And look, honey, the Johnsons took their annual Christmas picture in front of their divinely decorated mantle. The letter says Barbara knitted all of their scarves, even the dog’s.

Perhaps it’s best to channel your jealousy toward people who don’t live next door (or who aren’t even alive). Enter Campbell House. No, literally enter Campbell House. Part of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the house is preserved as a living history experience showing the 1898 home of Amasa and Grace Campbell, who made their fortune in North Idaho’s mining boom.

Campbell House is free to tour Dec. 19-Jan. 1, with period-specific holiday decorations, cooking demonstrations and live actors. The MAC • 2316 W. First Ave. • Wed-Sat, 10 am-5 pm • (SAL)

Thursday, Dec. 20

Christmas(ish) Movie Night

Sure, nothing says ‘tis the season like a night snuggling up with White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Even Home Alone will suffice.

This is not such a night. Grab your favorite Thursday night drink (PBR or Rainier highly recommended) and dig out the other Christmas movies: Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Batman Returns. And who could forget that late-December classic Die Hard 2? (SAL)

Friday, Dec. 21

Clarion Brass

Catch the Clarion Brass ensemble perform its “This is What Christmas Sounds Like” concert. Director and arranger William Berry founded the group in 1992, and since then it’s grown to “one of the world’s top brass choirs,” according to the Clarion Brass website.

Come for the music, stay for the intrigue, as there’s no telling what a bunch of wacky brass players (and one percussionist) in matching outfits will do. Plus you can compare your interpretation of “what Christmas sounds like” to theirs. It’s highly likely Clarion’s doesn’t include crying, whining and utter disappointment — but you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Tickets are $12-18 from TicketsWest. 7:30 p.m, St. John’s Cathedral, Spokane. (SAL)

Saturday, Dec. 22

Do the Right Thing

How about doing something selfless for a change? (Do you feel sufficiently guilty yet?) Take the money you might normally spend on yourself, and apply it to something charitable. You could make a positive difference in someone’s life: $100 can go a long way at Catholic Charities, Union Gospel Mission, the Salvation Army or any number of social service organizations.

If you find yourself with too much charitable holiday cheer after playing Dudley Do-right, go hang out in a mall (or, again, a mall parking lot) for a few minutes. That will zap your faith in humanity pretty darn quick. (SAL)

The Revolutionists

Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 1
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