Chestnuts Roasting on a Lava Rock



The Christmas feeling is the only thing that paradise can not provide.

Santa with surf shorts, aloha shirt, slippers, and a flower lei does not instill the Christmas feeling in me. Every year throughout my childhood I would watch traditional Christmas movies such as  “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Seeing snow fall, people riding in bobsleds, and everyone bundled up near the Christmas tree would ignite my imagination into how those Christmases must’ve felt.

But my imagination is all I have about those “real” Christmas experiences. I’ve never spent the holidays anywhere except here. And the tropical rain is certainly no comparison to snowfall on a white Christmas.

Year after year, the only two ways that I realize Christmas is coming is by the Kaneohe Christmas Parade sign that is posted near the local police station and seeing the flickering of Christmas lights that people hang on their homes when I pass by. If it weren’t for these two things, Christmas would come and go in a blink of an eye without me even realizing it.

As kids in school, the excitement of the annual Christmas pageantry was more about the presents than the weather. Did no one see the irony of having Hawaii kids singing about “Dashing through the snow…” or “Frosty the snowman”? When the sun shined on Frosty and he melted, all the children were crying until they returned Frosty into the cold where he came to life again and the Christmas spirit was reborn. This is a perfect example of how children in paradise can never experience the true season of Christmas.

It seems that every great Christmas movie is somehow associated with snow. It has been my dream to spend Christmas somewhere on the mainland where there would be actual seasonal changes and the possibility of heavy snow. Someplace where I could experience the fun and joy of building a real snowman, making snow angels, and having huge family snowball fights. Instead I‘m applying sunscreen, getting burnt, and fighting off sand crabs. 

Don’t get me wrong, if I didn’t spend 365 days a year here in Hawaii, I would relish the opportunity to experience the change in weather from the cold winter wonderland to the warm tropical paradise. It’s just that living here dulls my senses. The lack of seasonal changes tends to jumble all the holidays into an uneventful continuance of days passing by.

Watching movies like “Elf” and “The Santa Clause” would be shining examples of what I am talking about. The feeling you get from the snow activities and the fun that they’re having shows exactly how Christmas can be.

I’m not complaining about how fortunate I am living in this beautiful paradise that I call home. But I would love to experience a true white Christmas with actual snowfall, not snow-making machines. Yes, I could pay $11.50 to go ice skating at Ice Palace but once I’m finished and return to the open air the heat will remind me that this is no wintry holiday.

Being born and raised in Hawaii, going outdoors in December is the same as if you went outside in the middle of July. It requires the same clothing all year around. Part of the Christmas spirit and experience is bundling up with a warm jacket, long pants, gloves, scarf, and a beanie going out into the cold weather. Here on the islands if you were to wear such things, by the time you walk outside to get into your car, you’ll be dripping in sweat from head to toe.

Even though it’s wintertime in Hawaii, the weather is pleasantly warm. In December, you can expect the daytime high temperatures to be in the upper 70s to lower 80s Fahrenheit. At night, the low temperatures may dip into the upper 60s. 

Some may say we are fortunate to be spared the inconvenience of the cold winter weather, but I would say just the beauty of experiencing the change from fall to winter would be exhilarating. Something about the change in the weather alone would insert the exceptional Christmas feeling in me.