Where I grew up, it was always cold on Christmas. It may not have always snowed, but the temperature was always around 30-35 degrees. The days and weeks leading up to Christmas always involved getting bundled up before going outside, driving around looking at Christmas lights, and maybe even playing an occasional game of backyard football with a group of friends. When I moved to Chicago for law school, it was really no difference. The weather was always freezing by the time the lights went up on Michigan Ave. So it feels a little weird to see Christmas lights in shorts and a t-shirt, which is exactly what I did on Saturday night.
Christmas Tree outside of City Hall
I wrote before that Thanksgiving is not a big deal here. Christmas, on the other hand, is a HUGE deal. I now understand why it was so urgent that the clerks in my office meet to discuss holiday decorations. Our office looks like Santa and his reindeer came by and threw up Christmas decorations all over the place. It's awesome. I love Christmas and all the decorations. Along the same lines, this weekend was the annual City Lights parade and tree lighting in downtown Honolulu. All day the city shuts down the streets and there is a Christmas festival with games and rides for kids, booths with food and drinks, and at 6:00 there is a parade followed by the tree lighting. I didn't make it for the parade, but it's supposedly fun.
The Christmas decorations are a little excessive, but that's what makes them awesome. First of all, there is a barefoot Santa. There is also a snowman holding a surfboard. The pure ridiculousness of a snowman in Hawaii makes it fantastic! Everyone here gets so into Christmas that next weekend a big group of people already have plans to build ginger bread houses and drink mulled cider and mulled wine. So even though it's 80 degrees and doesn't quite feel like Christmas, I think I can get used to the new warm-weather traditions.
Also, "Mele Kalikimaka" is Hawaiian for Merry Christmas.