Monday, December 24, 2018


Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus with poinsettias
in front of Honolulu Hale
Each year, I visit the downtown area to check out the Honolulu Christmas decorations. At Honolulu Hale, Santa and Mrs. Claus reign over the festivities: the tall Christmas tree, the Mele Kalikimaka toy display, and the Christmas wreath contest of unique wreaths decorating the walls. Hearing the squeals and chatter of school children as they enjoy the sights always brings a smile to my face.

The days leading up to Christmas Day are a time for just that, squeals and chatter, the joys of childhood, and remembering the pleasures of past holidays. In our family, celebrations were prefaced with attendance at mass, first St. Luke's Church, and later Holy Redeemer Church. Giving thanks reminded us not to take our many blessings for granted.
Today I am focused on simple blessings so often taken for granted throughout the busy year: colorful birds and flowers during my walks; the sweetly-tart juiciness of a chilled tangerine; and an unexpected exchange of friendly greetings. Burdens lessen as I concentrate on a few of my "favorite things."  

May your days be filled with merriment and peace!

*****     *****     *****

The following is an article I first posted in 2009. Much of the information remains relevant, although I haven't seen The Candy Cane Train in years and Santa on the roof of Ala Moana Center doesn't have a lei this year!

MELE KALIKIMAKA is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Remember Bing Crosby's 1950 rendition, accompanied by the Andrew Sisters? "That's the island greeting that we send to you  . . ."

The holiday season on the island of O'ahu opens with the Honolulu City Lights celebration. The Electric Light Parade travels through downtown to Honolulu Hale (City Hall) for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. This year's tree is a striking 55-foot Norfolk pine. Another tradition is "Nutcracker" performed on-stage at Blaisdell Concert Hall. 

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, rows of evergreen wreaths on grave sites honor fallen veterans this holiday season. The wreaths adorn 1,288 of the graves, part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.

Aunties like myself, keiki, and tutus all enjoy the entertainment of Hawaii's local groups this time of year - Na Leo Pilimehana, Makaha Sons, Kapena, and the Brothers Cazimero, to name a few; special hula dance groups (halaus) including Hoku Zuttermeister; and celebrities Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Keali'i Reichel, and Willie K (the title of his Christmas song "Aloha Kalikimaka" reveals what the K stands for.) Music by the late Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwo'ole is always heard around the islands. 

Candy Cane Train
At Ala Moana Center, our open-air shopping mall, children ride the Candy Cane Train and watch musical productions on Center Stage, the illusion of snow delighting the young at heart. Hula performers draped in colorful regalia entertain with beautifully choreographed, swaying movements.

Santa gets lei-d for the holidays
But it isn't officially the "season to be jolly" until the Santa Claus statue is assembled up on the center's rootftop for all to see!

In Honolulu, jolly ol' St. Nicholas arrives in an outrigger canoe, landing on the shores of Waikiki! 
And we do have real snow here. Recently, my cousin reminded me of the snow-covered mountain of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Low temperatures on Maui's Haleakala also attract the white fluffy stuff that folks in the northern states take for granted this time of year.

Hawaiian Menehune

Kalikimaka is Hawaiian for Christmas.
Mele means song or chant; also, merry.
This is truly the locals' traditional way,
Of sending holiday greetings,
To say Merry Christmas. To you.

Aloha Nui Loa,
That's Hawaii's way to say
"a canoe-full of love."

Although some traditions come and go, the spirit of the holidays always remains,
and around the Islands, people of all faiths share the spirit of

*****     *****     *****


  1. Mahalo (thank you) for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for the lesson Gail. Although I've been to Hawaii twice (many years ago) because my mother lived in Honolulu for a few years, I didn't know how Christmas was celebrated there. Thanks for inviting me, and have a merry Christmas.

  3. PS-Please list our blog.


  4. I sure do remember that song! And I'm glad I found your blog. I'm pumped that you're following mine. :) I have a group blogs with info for writers you might want to look at.

    Have a bright, sunny holiday!

  5. Hi Gail, This looks like such a fun blog. I am following through GFC. Thanks for listing my blog - I just added yours to my blog roll.

  6. E.B, Kaye, and Stacy,
    Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to reading your latest posts also.

  7. Hi Gail,

    What a fun blog you have here. I don't know what you think of Hawaii Five O, and I certainly have my reservations, but I love the scenes of the islands at the beginning of the program. I hate to fly, but I hope my next big trip will be to the islands.

  8. Thank you, Lesley.

    The original Hawaii 5-0 with Jack Lord was fabulous fun. I probably watched every episode (I was living in the midwest at the time.)

    They held a special preview of the new 5-0 on the beach at Waikiki and most of the stars were here for the celebration.The show just isn't the same with all that semi-automatic action, though. More Hong Kong than Hawaii.

  9. My American pal was just telling me about the new Hawaii 50 - makes me need to start from the beginning again.

  10. Gail thank you to you to give us actually want to go there.
    With winter weather we have in Belgium, 40 cm of snow for Christmas (which has been white since 1964) we begin to dream of the sun.
    Continuing in this way it's good to know the traditions of others.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
    Raymond from Belgium

  11. Mele Kalikimaka, everyone! It is 12/21/2012 and the world has survived!
    Best Wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and

  12. Hi Happy Christmas and happy new year thanks for your postings

  13. On 12/21/2012, I commented that the world has survived. I repeat myself today! May you find peace within yourself and share the happiness you experience in your life. United for a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!


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