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December 2006


A Hawaiian Christmas


I’m sitting here looking out the window watching the snow/rain mix fall from the grey sky and I realize two things: first, the holiday season has begun and second, if it weren’t so cold I would go roll up that car window. Well, if this weather has you wishing for a Hawaiian Christmas and you can’t afford the Hawaiian Airlines holiday airfare ($700 + your first born child + airport fees), then I have found the answer for you. There is a website called “eHow.com” which has instructions on how to do just about anything, except how to write a humor column for a Hawaiian community newspaper that was due yesterday. On the front page of the eHow website under the heading “Popular Articles” the two listed are “How to Write a Research Proposal” and (not kidding) “How to Wash a Knit Scarf.” Now I will admit I don’t know how to wash a knit scarf but I don’t see myself ever needing to Google it. And yet, enough clicks have put it in the Popular category, above “How to Merge Into Traffic” and “How to Turn Off Your Damn Cell Phone Once the Movie Starts.”

Anyway, deep within the eHow website there is an article entitled “How to Celebrate a Hawaiian Christmas,” which can be accomplished in eight steps, thereby granting you black belt Hawaiian Christmas status. Daniel-san, let us begin.

Step 1: Purchase gifts for everyone you know. Hawaiians seem to be more generous than most people at Christmastime. It’s a tradition to make sure that everyone is included.

Yes, Hawaiians are generous, but not “everybody gets a present” generous. If I did this, people would get a gift card for 1/6 of a small Jamba Juice. Happy Holidays, everybody I know. Sip slowly.

Step 2: Attend church on Christmas morning, if that’s an important part of your religious tradition.

So if you go church then go church. If you don’t go church then no go church. Got it. Already I feel like I’ve learned so much.

Step 3: Plan a luau, which is an outdoor meal that consists of a Kalua pig roasted in an imu, or underground oven.

Because nothing says a Paradise holiday like being pelted by wind-blown rain/snow mix while gnawing on pig cooked in frozen, muddy ground.

Step 4: Make Christmas leis for family and friends to wear.

This one is nice but I have to admit that I have never made a lei for someone at Christmas. I guess the idea of sneaking into a strangers yard and stealing their plumerias just didn’t seem right during the holidays.

Step 5: Enjoy the sounds of Christmas bells, which are played on a steel guitar.

Um…what? The only time the steel guitar sounds like bells is when a) you’re on acid; or b) the steel guitar player is right next to the Salvation Army guy outside the department store door. Come on, eHow, you’re just mailing it in now.

Step 6: Expect menehune Santa to arrive with presents in his Christmas tree boat, or red canoe, dressed for the weather in his shorts and Hawaiian shirt. His elves are said to paddle the boat to shore.

Whatever floats your single-hulled boat. The desire for presents is not motivated by race. By air or by sea, just get it done.

Step 7: Bake traditional Christmas treats, such as sweet potato cheesecake with haupia.

I’ve spent many a Christmas in Hawaii and have never laid eyes on a sweet potato cheesecake. I seriously question the person who looks at a yam and says “That should go into a cheesecake.” As I remember it, the treats were pie, mochi, and haupia for the kids and Li Hing Coors Light for the adults.

Step 8: Listen to Hawaiian Christmas songs like “Po La’I E” or “Silent Night.”

Translated to English this sentence means: Listen to Hawaiian Christmas songs like “Silent Night” or “Silent Night.” It’s true, Hawaiian music is a perfect match for Christmas and there are many amazing Hawaiian Christmas albums out there. Plus, in the Hawaiian version of “12 Days of Christmas” you get 10 cans of beer, 9 pounds of poi, and a bunch of televisions. That beats geese-a-laying any day.

The next section is called “Tips & Warnings” and the very first one is this: Hawaiians did not celebrate Christmas until 1820, when missionaries arrived and brought Christianity to the islands.

I guess this a tip/warning just in case you build a time machine, travel to December of 1819, and burst out of it singing “Little Drummer Boy.” You, my friend, have been warned.

Here’s a “How To Celebrate a Hawaiian Christmas” from ikerm.com: Make a ton of food, have a CD changer full of Hawaiian Christmas music, turn on the TV at halftime of the Hawaii Bowl so you can see your sister dance, and make sure there are way too many hugs to go around. Turns out you can have a Hawaiian Christmas in rain/snow mix.

I need to go roll up that car window. Did I mention it’s my wife’s car? Happy and safe holidays everyone. Your Jamba cards are in the mail.

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