It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... nor was anything that required electricity, for that matter, given that 10,855 Siskiyou County residences were without power from  5:26 p.m. to as late as 9:38 p.m. in some areas.
According to Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gaunt, the outage extended from areas south of Dunsmuir to Lake Shastina. Also without power were 1,000 McCloud residences. 
As of Monday, the cause had yet to be determined, said Gaunt. “It was nothing obvious, like a tree falling on a power line,” he said. “It’s still under investigation.”
Gaunt was able to confirm that there was a loss of transmission into the Weed sub-station. “By 9:38 p.m., we were able to switch over to an alternative source.”
Two thousand seven hundred customers in the Weed area had their power restored shortly after 7:30 p.m., said Gaunt, but for those to the south, it was a full four hours before things returned to normal.
Though power outages are not unusual in the area, this one was made memorable by the fact that it happened at a time when many were in the midst of their holiday celebration.
“It simplified things for us,” said Mount Shasta resident Sequoia Pettengel, who said that her family had made their own sushi for Christmas Eve dinner and did not need to do much cooking. “We did need a stove for the rice,” she said, explaining that they got out their camping stove to handle that job.
After that, she said her whole family hung out by candle light. “I was knitting with my headlamp on. It was actually kind of a cool way to spend the night,” she said.
Many others in the community had their stories to tell, as well.
Daniel Carpenter, also of Mount Shasta, said the power outage definitely threw a kink in his family’s dinner preparations, but they did their best to adjust. “We enjoyed it. We just got out the candles and went with it,” he explained. He added that relatives visiting from Salt Lake City were not quite as flexible and chose to drive north to Yreka in search of an alternative Christmas Eve meal.
Carpenter said the best story he’d heard came from his co-worker, John, who, shortly after the power went out, fished out an old battery operated radio, only to tune into “Silent Night.”
Charlie Poulis of Mount Shasta said he managed just fine, but his thoughts definitely went out to others. “I was driving across town on my way home after visiting with some friends, and I saw all the cars parked out in front of the restaurants and couldn’t help but wonder about all of those people sitting inside in the dark,” he said.
Poulis said that he spent his evening cooking on the wood stove and basking in the glow of one of the oil lamps that he collects. “Eventually, I got out the guitar,” he said.
Marie Mitchell, after reading a story posted on the website, wrote: “I live out of cell phone range, and my home phone was dysfunctional, so, after waiting a while to see if the electricity – and the heat – would come back on, I got in my car and drove toward town.
“By that time, there were cars at most of the churches I passed, and I thought how this is the situation in so many parts of the world on a regular day. Gratefully, too, I noticed the starlight that was already beginning to twinkle quite brilliantly.
“I got back on the freeway and headed north to the Shasta Abbey, where an annual ceremony called ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ was scheduled for 7pm. The ceremony involves both readings and organ music, both of which normally require electricity.
“When I got to the Abbey, I was greeted at the gate by a number of monks with flashlights, and I proceeded down to the Ceremony Hall where a search was on for the necessary number of batteries to run a small keyboard. The candles were all lit, and the non-electric silence had a gentling effect. It was probably the largest attendance at this annual event that I have experienced in the thirteen years that I have gone, and it seemed that the entire event was more heartfelt than ever, thanks, in part, to the soft lights glowing from candles and from everyone’s hearts.
“The choir director for the Catholic Church has also been serving as the choir director for the Abbey monks and, as yet another tribute to the joy of interfaith cooperation, the Abbey sent their battery operated keyboard along with her to use at the Christmas Eve ceremonies that she was off to next at the Catholic Church. It was a lovely affirmation of the true spirit of the Holy-Day Season.”
Richard Martin shared his thoughts on the evening, as well. “This Christmas Eve we were truly blessed with a power outage of a few hours. Did you notice how perfect the stillness was?  How deep the silence was without the hum of 60 CPS power generation in our area?  It is within that perfect stillness that occurs  on the solstice that is the eternal source from which our eternal being is created.” 
For Dunsmuir resident Sarah Jackson, the power outage didn’t put a crimp in her plans. “We were planning on eating tuna sandwiches anyway,” she said.