Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tropical for Christmas

Over 31 years ago, I spent my first tropical Christmas in Hawaii. Was totally expecting it to be a really weird,bummer time, not like Christmas at all.  Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. (might have even been a little whiney). My first time away from the cold rainy Pacific Northwest and away from family during the holidays.

Where could we possibly find a Christmas tree in Hawaii?  We didn't even have ornaments! (or any money) A wreath? So weird to be wearing shorts and t-shirts.. what do you do when it's 80 degrees and sunshining in the winter?

Me and Dad snorkeling in Hanauma Bay 1983
Our  tree that year, turned out to be rather magical with a little help from my mom and dad. My grandma Johnnie had a Christmas tree farm in her back "40". Every year after my brother Jeff, and I were old enough, we spent our December weekends helping customers at her farm cut down their own Christmas trees.  Believe it or not, I got to be pretty handy down in the dirt with a tree saw! I can't even begin to count the weekends spent cold, muddy and soaked through after tramping around (sometimes for quite awhile) in between wet Douglas Fir, Noble Fir and Blue Spruce trees.  It was all worth it though, to hang out in the kitchen with my grandma telling stories and drinking hot chocolate. Oh, and we may have consumed some Christmas cookies too!

So, I digress...  My dad must have felt pretty sorry for me (I was a more than a little pathetic), and he and my mom came up with a plan to get a tree to me in Hawaii.  I have always loved the smell and the gorgeous colors of blue spruce trees. Dad went to grandma's and found a fatty, round one and cut it down. Somehow between all of them, (there might have been cocktails involved) they figured out how to squish it, wrap the bottom in wet paper towels and a plastic bag.  Then the whole thing went into a constructed lop-sided cardboard box.  With about 5 pounds of packing tape!

Took five or six days to get to us, but made it perfectly in one piece! My mom was so sweet, making a bunch of cute reindeer and Santa ornaments and sending them along too.

Have such wonderful memories of that first holiday in our home in Pearl City. We had a huge mango tree in our backyard,  fenced in from the sugar cane fields and surrounded by pretty pink oleanders with a beautiful dark pink blooming bougainvillea growing in our courtyard. Our neighbors even had big red blooming Poinsettias growing in their yard!

What to do when it's 80 degrees?  Go to the beach and go boogey boarding! Which is exactly what we did on Christmas Day in 1983.

Here are a few of my favorite tropical Christmas Tree ideas - 
what a fun way to celebrate life in the islands. (or pretend you are on a tropical vacation!)

Love this "reclaimed" from the sea tree from musician Jack Johnson, featured in Coastal Living last holiday - who needs a real tree? Just create one of your own!

Load up the shiny ornaments! Wouldn't it be fun to create a tropical tree in your outside living area? (from the Frontgate catalog)

 Lily Pulitzer, of course.  Something so fun about a total infusion of tropical, bright color!

One of my all-time favorite Christmas decor inspirations from Coastal Living Magazine.  I have had this image pinned on my bulletin board for 5 years... check out the palm fronts mixed with the blue, aqua and silver.  Love this tree!

More color infusion topped off with palm fronts from Better Homes and Gardens ( What an inviting, cozy room!

 Who says the tree has to be green? I really really want the ottoman... (also Coastal Living Magazine)

Maybe surfing after Christmas brunch? The purple and turquoise is such a great combo! (also Coastal Living) 

Looks like a fabulous party!  I want get invited -  (so sorry, do not know the source)

Hoping to get our tree this weekend...

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