With the hype of the newest items, the signs plastering deals over every store wall, and eager employees with Santa hats who are there to greet you before you walk through the door, it is so easy for material items to be the highlight of the holiday season. I look favorably upon the holiday season, reminiscing about the childhood feeling of innocence and wonder that usually accompanies this time of the year.
I think back to my childhood in Waimea where the Christmas festivities brought our ʻohana together. My Mama and Papa would prepare an ʻono holiday lūʻau with no shortage of mouthwatering goods, including raw ʻaʻama, ʻake, ʻopihi, limu, poke with ʻinamona, and pālau. The massive Parker Ranch Christmas tree would be draped with old-fashioned, multi-colored bubble lights with an over-sized gold and silver angel hanging precariously on the top branch of the tree. Every child of every Parker Ranch employee received a gift underneath the sizable tree. I remember anxiously waiting for my name to be called so that I could pick out a brightly wrapped present from underneath the great tree. In the background, I recall ʻukulele and guitar uniting the family into impromptu kanikapila sessions. To conclude Christmas night, our ʻohana would go house to house in Waimea serenading with Christmas carols until midnight. Our music would awaken people from their beds and bring them to the door to join us.
I have learned that the Christmas season should be approached with the spirit of giving. The holidays and Christmas are a time about finding something spiritual and wonderful about ourselves, our ʻohana who fill it and make it special, our ʻāina that continues to provide for kānaka, and our kūpuna, who guide us through both the triumphant and tumultuous times. Christmas is the time of spreading joy. Joy springs from the heart in the act of caring, compassion and kindness, creating a sense of purpose in giving one’s best self to others. Joy is enduring and gives us a deep sense of well-being and relationship with others and the world around us.
This holiday season I am looking forward to the giggles heard from my moʻopuna meeting Santa, the extra-tight hugs from ʻohana, and the warm feeling I get when I look around the room at holiday parties and realize how important my friends and ʻohana are to me.
I am all for giving and all for blessing someone during this time of the year, but this year I am going to put some extra focus on the laughs, the memories, and the experiences that come out of this time of year. The real secret of the holidays is that the love and joy of the season is about the aloha we choose to share with one another. We can do more than seek the pleasures of comfort and happiness of the gifts we may receive. We can shift our focus this holiday season from material possessions to meaning. After all, it is a wonderful life when we give and celebrate the joy of Christmas with each other.
Mele Kalikimaka a Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!