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December 2005

From the Editor...


Rochelle delaCruz

Does it seem that the holiday season shows up earlier and earlier? I used to get annoyed that Christmas arrived before we even finished our turkey and so I never went out to crazy shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving. (The kids thought I was weird.) But now, one of the radio stations on my car buttons begins to play Christmas music a whole week before Thanksgiving, (so I refuse to listen to that station until the New Year.) But am I going crazy or did I really noticed signs of Christmas around Halloween?? Red and green with orange and black…I protest!

Don’t get me wrong; I like the holidays: the special traditions, the `ono smells, the cheery greetings. But I think we go overboard and I prefer to keep it simple. I grew up in Hawai`i in the days before those pricey Douglas firs were brought in by the boat and plane loads. Back then, we found a Portuguese cypress or Norfolk pine somewhere on the island and could actually see the ornaments we hung on it, because of the orderly and sparse branches…remember? Last year, I read that people in the Islands were upset about the shortage of imported Christmas tree but I thought: hey, we did without them before; we can do it again. I know I know, easy to talk now that my children are out of the house. But once they left, we stopped getting a tree at Christmas, hanging ornaments instead the ficus or some other amenable house plant. Last year I decorated the curvy rataan floor lamp with a string of fish lights…it was a big hit! The kids no longer call me weird or have they just gotten used to it?

I tried to find more holidays stories for this December paper, but issues surrounding education kept coming up. And as an educator, I’m focused on students so I couldn’t resist what Leo Pangelinan has to tell us about Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Island students in Seattle Public Schools. Reidar Smith always alerts us to ways to help students get more education, and this time Joslyn Donlin replied thoughtfully to Reidar’s email, raising provocative questions about the system. Both of their letters are on this page. Food for thought, in this fine holiday spirit.

By the time this paper gets out, we’ll all be caught up in holiday preparations of one kind or another. I’ll even have my Mele Kalikimaka rubber mat on my doorstep, the one my mother bought me at Long’s in Hilo years ago. My collection of Hawaiian Christmas ornaments will be happily hanging on whichever indoor branches can hold them. And I guess I’ll have to start my gift shopping and wrapping because a huge part of our holiday traditions – especially those of us from Hawai`i - are post office mailing deadlines. Yes, I’m aware of on-line shopping but what’s the fun in that?

Hope your holidays are sweet, safe and satisfying. ~RdC

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