It’s always nice to start with the worst so you can end on a happy note.
FIVE WORST THINGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII:
- The price to see family. We’re stuck three thousand miles away from anyone out here, and flying at the holidays is two things: exorbitant and stressful. I hate that about being so far away, from even folks on Oahu. Travel becomes a big issue, and bringing the kids home is stressful for them, pricey for us, and ALWAYS too short a visit all around.
- NO SNOW. Having spent seven years in the Midwest, I can appreciate the nip in the air, the jingle of bells that actually have a purpose, the feeling of winter wonderland. In Hawaii, the only snow we have is that fake canned stuff (except for on top Mauna Loa on Big Island, not exactly accessible.)
- The Twelve Days of Christmas Hawaiian Style blaring from every supermarket: “Numbah one day of Christmas my tutu wen’ give me… One mynah bird in one papaya tree! etc” *pulls hair*
- Tacky decorations. Something about green grass, blue skies and palm trees as a backdrop make plastic Santas, reindeer, giant inflatable snow globes, not to mention that fake canned snow, just look even more tacky—and blarg on those Santas in aloha shirts!
- Tons of tourists. I don’t mean to hurt feelings, but when you live somewhere it’s just home, and then that home gets annually mobbed with every rental-car out of storage, every restaurant filled, every hotel room booked, malls and stores packed, beaches crowded, Road to Hana ridiculously backed up…hell, even the surf spots are invaded by out-of-town kooks! But, we share with aloha because, after all, our normal Christmas is someone else’s dream vacation and it would not be cool to Grinch on that.
THE FIVE BEST THINGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII
- NO SNOW. Swimming on Christmas day is so awesome. Usually, at our house we get up, do stockings, then go to the beach for surfing or diving, and come home to prep for a wonderful sit down dinner. I love our Hawaii get-in-the-ocean tradition!
- Kalua pig and turkey. Ever tried these Hawaiian delicacies baked in an imu, underground hot-rock oven? So ono!
- Wonderful multicultural traditions. Keiki hula at church, beautifully-wrapped gifts in the Japanese tsutsumi tradition, Christmas luau, singing carols in Hawaiian, and on and on. So many flavors in this “salad bowl” of a state!
- Unique decorations. Palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights, Norfolk pines instead of cut firs, seashells made into ornaments, wreaths made of native greens like ferns, ti, and pukiawe, driftwood and candles lining pathways, banana leaf table décor, and so much more!
- OHANA—in Hawaii, because we are so isolated, we extend the definition of “family” to include friends, church, coworkers, neighbors—and everyone loves a party with potluck, ukuleles, candycane leis and “Mele Kalikimaka!” all round.
I love your posts about Hawaii. It seems like such an interesting place to live. Merry Christmas, my friend!
It really is quite a special place, and not just for the obvious (weather) reasons.
You captured a great family Christmas gathering well! Aloha
Thanks and I hope you can join us in Hawaii someday!
Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki!
My favorite Christmas decoration isn’t found so commonly anymore. I love the old fishing nets strung up in the shape of a tree. A star fish on top, sand dollars dangling from the netting, along with Japanese glass fishing floats fill in for ornaments. When the kids were little, we always strung globe amaranth into garlands and nestled whatever flowers were handy from my garden on the bough of a potted Norfolk pine. Now my favorite is a mini rosemary topiary. The gift that keeps on giving.
Worst Christmas song ever: Bing Crosby’s Mele Kalikimaka
Best Hawaiian Christmas music? Check out JesseTinsley on YouTube. He does it in his garage. Something marvelously pono about his renditions.
Thank you, I’m going to look for Jesse!
Agree! Got to love the kalua pork and turkey.
My favorite and so unique!
I’m simultaneously hoping they’re right about it snowing tonight – and absolutely dying to be somewhere warm and sunny, with an ocean warm enough to actually swim in… How crazy am I?
As much as I adore the theory of a white Christmas, and have delighted in the two I have experienced (yep, a whole two in what will be 36 Christmases as of this year), what you have listed here sounds amazing. I would love to be able to experience this kind of cultural richness and sense of Ohana!
I hope you will make it over some time! Great getting to know you better on FB.
The best stuff about Christmas in Hawaii trumps the worst hands down! Mele Kalikimaka