Mele Kalimaka

Christmas in Hawaii sucks.

There's no snow, no snowmen, no sledding, no snow angels--get the picture? It's *nothing* like the Christmas cards with the glitter snow. And chestnuts roasting over an open fire? Forget it, it's against the law to burn anything in your backyard. Don't even ask about chimneys so the fat man can deliver the goods. He's gonna have to use FedEx like everyone else.

But it's warm and sunny, you say.

We get warm and sunny *all* year long. OK, maybe it's rainier in the winter but it's still warm. If we're talking Christmas I want cold. More specifically, I want snow. Just like you see in that Frosty the Snowman special. I just want it to look like it does on TV.

It's not like Christmas doesn't happen in Hawaii. There are all the trappings but none of the atmosphere. At the shopping center, the mecca of the season, the stores are strung with lights and tinsel, the windows sprayed with fake snow, and there was a stable of Santa's (live!) reindeer as you waited to go talk to the Man. They were big, they were smelly, and their fur was really gnarly. These were not the perky, eager, work animals that were supposed to have spawned Rudolph. Did we get the fourth string team?

And then there was Santa. It wasn't the kids so much as the costume. Unfortunately, it wasn't anything special; it was same the generic Santa costume, fake fur suit, fake beard, and plastic boots, but in 80 degree weather. Mmmm, just what the season calls for: hot and crusty Santa.

The Christmas trees for sale were really pathetic, too. If you've ever wondered where all the Charlie Brown Christmas trees go, they're shipped to Hawaii. Compared to trees I've seen on the mainland, the ones we had to choose from were wimpy, dried-out, little twigs that smelled like pine air freshener. This was not the majestic Oh, Tannenbaum, it was more like Oh, Teenie-baum.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and my experience of it is like when I'm eating in a restaurant and the waitrons start singing "Happy Birthday" to someone at the next table. You sing along but you're not gonna join their table for cake.

For a kid that grew up in a non-religious household the more secular symbols of Christmas are what I identified with. Of course, that paired with the perfectionist in me, you're looking at easy disappointment.

Now I live on the mainland where we get lots of snow and it gets cold and you get depressed and you feel like spring will never come.

And, you know, Christmas only sucks half as much, but that's a different story.

--Ilsa Enomoto

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