Celebrating Christmas In Paradise

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 29, 2006

The passing of Thanksgiving Day signals the official beginning of the Christmas holiday season. I can’t believe we are wrapping up another year already. Weren’t we just here?

Is it me, or is the official beginning of the Christmas holiday season starting earlier and earlier?

I knew things were getting out of control when there were candy canes on sale for Valentine’s Day.

If I am not mistaken, I was in a big box retailer the end of September and it was already setting up its Christmas displays. Artificial trees, wreaths and oddly out of place plastic Santas were being readied for action.

I guess Labor Day is the new Halloween, which is the new Thanksgiving when trying to chronologically keep track of the true official beginning of the Christmas holiday season.

I was born and raised in the Midwest. The four seasons there are winter, spring, summer and fall. Here in Hawaii, the four seasons are wet, humid, sunny and breezy. I submit to you there is a fifth season, but I am not sure if surfy is a word, let alone a season.

I love Hawaii weather. Why? Because it is always golf season. I can’t imagine knowing that for three wintery months, my putter would only be used to scrape ice off my windshield.

But I do admit there is something Serling-esque seeing images of Santa Claus dressed up in a red wool suit when the weather is “mostly sunny with some windward and mauka showers, trades 15-20 with highs near 90.” Hey, if he’s just visiting, he should be like any other super-sized tourist. Go to Hilo Hattie’s, get the matching aloha shirt and shorts, head to Waikiki and grab a $14 mai tai. When it gets too sticky, strip down to your bikini-cut, lime-green Speedos and blind people who look your way.

Christmas trees should be bonsai trees on steroids. Pump them up a bit, put some lights on and you have a local variation on the original. Well, at least it’s better than trying to get a fresh Mainland imported tree.

Is there anything like it in the world? Hawaii Christmas tree-buying should be an official Olympic event. You have all the elements of athletic competition. You need speed to get to the front of the line for the best selection. You need strength to ward off those trying to take your tree, let alone hoisting your prize onto the roof of your Honda Accord. You need stamina to wait while the vendor snips the netting from the tree, shakes it loose so you can see it’s a tree, puts it back in a little netting, takes your money, tries to sell you a stand, blah, blah, blah.

Remember when people were paying hundreds of dollars for some withered up excuses for a tree a few years ago? TV crews were having a field day beaming images of aloha spirit-deprived maniacs, pushing and shoving, yelling and cursing ironically trying to buy ... a Christmas tree. Nothing says celebrating the birth of Christ like a good, old-fashioned brawl.

Mmmm ... Christmas turkey and ham, candied yams with mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and corn on the cob - I love the fact we can create our own local-style Christmas meal. I wonder if anybody serves Christmas goose adobo with sea salad. Sweet potato pasteles with ham laulau. Maybe you have a table with Portuguese sausage stuffing in an imu-cooked turkey. Oh my, now that sounds good!

I know we are just getting the Christmas holiday started. I hope we take time to remember the birth of Jesus is the reason for our celebration. But we have our own unique way of ringing in the holidays. It doesn’t matter that we have illuminated Christmas trees ensconced in snow as part of our downtown decorations. The bottom line is Christmastime is here, and whether you’re kamaaina or malihini, it’s the most beautiful time of the year.

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