Michaels: Finding the silver lining to this grey Christmas season

Only a buffoon would claim being a small-town reporter is a glamourous position, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi in addition to  a few more obvious attributes I can report to my family as we gather for Christmas holidays.

If it's a good year, for example, there may have been five minutes to hobnob with a somewhat-celeb coming through the city to resurrect a flagging career.

If the fate's have been friendly, a crime spree will have broken out, and I'll have had a steno pad and camera ready to rumble as it was resolved.

And there's always stories about the strangely alluring way people disparage "the media" as if we're imbued with nefarious powers. The sheer ridiculousness of that usually makes my heart grow three times, just like the Grinch's before me.

But after a slightly strange local election, murder trials ending with alarmingly short sentences and litany of disheartening Christmas photo ops, my je ne sais quoi was twisting into a bit of je-finally-understand-misanthropy.

Excuse my French.

As such, I embarked on a pre-Xmas investigation aimed at breaking the harsh rhythm of life and re-infusing my days with a reason to be jolly. It's one thing to be sullen at work, after all—completely different to do so on holiday.

Even with ample motivation, breaking the cycle of sulking in a way I could publicly discuss wasn't easy, mind you. It took leaving my cubicle for more than just rides to the courthouse.

But for my five readers, the world. Or, more accurately, a couple hundred words on things that are beyond fabulous about Kelowna and bound to buoy your spirits this time of year.

First off, may you see Stuart Park's skating rink at least once this season. Having lurked around it a few times last year, I had a sneaking suspicion it's where I'd find what I was looking for.

And, I was right. The place is lousy with  goofy, I-may-wet-my-pants-with-joy smiles.

It's infectious — the smiles, not incontinence — and worth every penny you don't have to spend.

Unfortunately, staying too long and not skating makes you look a bit peculiar to the families milling about, so either get some skates or truncate the visit.

Second thing to be grateful for is the miserable grey sky.

Sure, it's not what people usually yak about when they're listing Kelowna's attributes, but it's because they're not trying.

What that sky does is push people back indoors to find better things to do.

There are crafters markets galore, interesting people holding fascinating talks on things I normally would ignore.

Above all else, it leads one to drink and eat and there's no better drinking and eating than in the Okanagan.

Countless wineries, a brewery, two distilleries and even a mead shop have made Kelowna home and they've got a bounty of tasty ways to imbibe.

I'm pretty sure there's more to be pleased with, but I never got past the imbibing part, which frankly was more than enough.



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