By Lael Oldmixon, Executive Director, Alaska 529

Dec 21, 2021

“Hello darkness, my old friend!” This famous Simon and Garfunkel song lyric is quoted in posts on the news feeds of many Alaskans who, having enjoyed the endless hours of summer daylight, greet the coming balance of dark winter nights with appreciation and joy. Though we know we’re headed away from the sun, there is a sense of gratitude for the coming winter. On Dec. 21, the shortest day in Alaska, the sun will rise at 10:59 a.m. and set by 2:40 p.m. (in Fairbanks). That’s 3 hours and 41 minutes of Winter Solstice sun!

Photo by University of Alaska Fairbanks Photographer, Todd Paris

With December’s Solstice situated in the middle of a traditionally festive season, there are opportunities to bake and enjoy lovely treats, demonstrate kindness and generosity, and spend time with family. It serves as a time to slow down, reflect on the year gone by, and start planning for the year ahead. As you sip your cocoa and snuggle into your coziest holiday pajamas, let’s take one last look at your holiday gift list and make sure it’s complete!

Here is a shortlist of some of my favorite gifts:

  1. Make a tax-advantaged contribution to a loved one’s 529 account! It’s the perfect stocking stuffer, and it’s a gift with a lifelong impact.
  2. Give yourself the benefit of a tax credit or deduction! You may qualify for a state income tax credit or deduction for contributions to a 529 plan, which could also reduce your taxable income.

However you spend the remaining days of the year, may you experience optimism in the knowledge that we’re turning toward longer and brighter days, and new beginnings await us in the New Year. Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right!

About the author: Lael Oldmixon is the Executive Director of Alaska 529, an education savings plan offered by the Education Trust of Alaska.