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.