Kwento Kuwentuhan

Getting Ready For Christmas

The “BER” months are alive on Maui.

Liza of “A Maui Blog”

All Photos courtesy Liza Pierce

My husband and I went to Costco for an errand and when my husband saw all the Christmas tree displays he called me and teased me about it. He knows I love Christmas. He even took photos of me with the Christmas trees, and yes, I played along.
Have you heard a Christmas song played on the airwaves yet? Me neither. I have not heard Christmas carols played on Maui yet—at least not at the time of writing this article. However, when I was growing up in the Philippines, some radio stations played Christmas music on September 1st as a sign that Christmas season is starting. Christmas? In September? They must be out of their mind! It will seem strange for many, however, in the Philippines, the arrival of the month that ends with “BER” is a sign that Christmas is near and they get excited.

Are you one of those who gets excited when they see Christmas decorations and Christmas items being displayed in stores? Or are you among those who gets upset and think it’s too early?

The photos with this article were taken last week at Home Depot on Maui. We went there for an errand and when my husband saw all the Christmas tree displays he called me and teased me about it. He knew I love Christmas. He even took photos of me with the Christmas trees and yes, I played along. After all, I really do love Christmas and I am among those who gets excited seeing Christmas decorations even if it is too early for others.

By the time you are reading this article, it will already be October. Here in the US, we celebrate Halloween, then Thanksgiving, before we really want to pay attention to Christmas. However, it won’t hurt to get ready and be mindful of how we will celebrate this joyous—but sometimes stressful—occasion.

And so let’s get proactive. Let’s think of some of the stressors of this beloved holiday and think of ways we can prevent or minimize the stress.

My husband and I went to Costco for an errand and when my husband saw all the Christmas tree displays he called me and teased me about it. He knows I love Christmas. He even took photos of me with the Christmas trees, and yes, I played along.

#1 – Buying Gifts

I love giving gifts! However, making a list of who to give and what to give can really be stressful because I have a limited budget (very tight one). If I have a bank account that says the sky is the limit, I would be so happy buying gifts for everyone I love. But you see, I don’t. And I get sad about that.

My solution? I have to remind myself that gifts don’t have to be material things bought from a store. There are other gifts like a gift of encouragement (write a letter, give a card with a heartfelt note) or a gift of time (coffee date, movie date, laugh together). I often hear people talking about how Christmas has become very materialistic and they don’t like Christmas at all. My reminder is to not let the pressure of materialism steal away the joy we feel when we think of Christmas. As the saying goes, we can “give love” on Christmas day. It does not have to be material, it can be an act of kindness.

My husband and I went to Costco for an errand and when my husband saw all the Christmas tree displays he called me and teased me about it. He knows I love Christmas. He even took photos of me with the Christmas trees, and yes, I played along.

#2 – Feeling Homesick

I love living on Maui but the hard part about it is I miss enjoying holidays with my extended family. Both my husband’s family and my family live far away from here. His family is in Connecticut, my family is in the Philippines, California and New Jersey. Hearing the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” brings me to tears. I long for my kids to experience Christmas with grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins.

My solution? My first thought is to fly my family to the Philippines so they can experience having Christmas there. That is a great solution if we have the budget for it. However, if we don’t have the budget to travel, that solution will create another holiday ‘financial’ stress because the cost of round trip tickets are outrageous. So, plan B is to spend time with hānai families or ‘ohana (surrogate families) here on Maui. And thanks to technology, I can FaceTime my family from far away and can feel a little bit of closeness talking to them and seeing them on the video “real time.” Not exactly the same as a “real life” get together but it will do for now. Funny, as I was writing this “wishing I was spending time with our family for these Holidays,” a thought came to my mind. Others might be saying that that is their “holiday problem;” the drama that goes on when family gathers; the in laws who don’t get along; etcetera, etcetera…. Do any of you have that kind of stress?

#3 – Hectic Schedule

A Holiday hectic schedule translates into having no time to exercise, eating a lot of junk food, not getting enough sleep, not finding rest. Ugh, just typing about these things makes me feel tired. But it is true, holidays are hectic days. If I don’t guard myself, being hectic will steal away the joy I have during the holidays. So what to do?

• Realize that I can’t say yes to everything, even if it’s all fun and good. I have to decide which parties I, or we as a family, should go to and which ones I, or we, should pass on.

• Exercise early in the morning, even if it’s just 10 jumping jacks. Exercise is such a stress reliever and is great for our body. But this is one thing I always neglect and I shouldn’t.

• Have some quiet time and downtime. I am an introvert and quiet time for me is indispensable. But even if one is not an introvert, it is important to set aside a time to be quiet, to meditate. It is good for the body as it is good for the soul.

• Plan ahead. Drink lots of water; pack healthy snacks in my bag.

I hope this Kwento-Kuwentuhan session this month helps you prepare to celebrate this glorious Christmas with peace, love, and no stress at all. Ok, maybe a little stress but not much. In the meantime, enjoy your Halloween and Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. A hui hou!


Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui.
Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.