While many of us have an image in our heads of a typical American Christmas which looks like an amalgam of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, most of us don’t actually celebrate the holiday in the same way. We’re of different religious sects, different religions, different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and even different languages.

Many of my father’s family, for example, will be celebrating in Hawaii, attending church services where English may be a second language during the course of the service. The last time I celebrated Christmas in Hawaii, the entire service was delivered in Hawaiian and English, with hymns sung in Filipino, Hawaiian, Vietnamese, Spanish and English. The parish was all that and more; it was beautiful to see their different faces so rapt in songs of their own tongue.

Some of my favorite Christmas songs are performed in Hawaiian; I’ll leave you with two videos of kama’aina who perform these easily recognizable melodies with simple grace and beauty. How will your family be celebrating the holiday today? Do share in comments.


Wishing Mele Kalikimaka to you and yours.