With most of the year being dominated by COVID-19 and its statewide quarantines, gathering restrictions and mask mandates, many people have decided to use their time at home to bring extra holiday cheer to their neighborhoods.
Sunrise Ridge off Komohana Street is a neighborhood with plenty of elaborately decorated homes, including that of Lynn Kinoshita on Kahakini Street.
Lights cover almost every foot of Kinoshita’s house and front yard, which she decorates for Christmas annually. Every year, she finds a way to incorporate a new element into the display.
Although there was very little space left in front of her house, she decided to add a moving element that depicts a waterfall flowing into a river in her front yard.
“I love doing this, because I love bringing cheer to people who drive by,” Kinoshita said. “I can see it lifting spirits when I hear the kids squeal and see people smile when they come by.”
Although her electricity bill is higher during the holiday season, Kinoshita does not mind paying extra to show off her display.
“When I moved in, I changed the wiring in front to make sure I could create a display like this,” Kinoshita said. “It’s worth it to me, and it makes me happy to feel like I’m giving something to the community.”
The holiday display comes to life every night, weather permitting, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“This year has been so challenging, so I think putting this together was even more important job for me this year,” Kinoshita said.
COVID-19 motivated many people to put up their Christmas decorations early this year as a way to feel the joy that comes from the holidays.
Stacey Williams and her family decided to set up for Christmas on Nov. 1, instead of when they usually decorate the day after Thanksgiving.
“My 7-year old daughter and I looked at each other and just decided to bust out the tree and start decorating,” Williams said. “We were ready to see colorful lights every night and bring more happiness to the house.”
The Williamses love the sights, smells and memories the Christmas holiday brings to their days.
“We decorated the tree with ornaments from 25 years ago and reflected on our memories,” Williams said. “Putting up decorations is more than just that — it’s an experience.”
While she did face some judgmental comments when putting up her decorations, most neighbors and friends were happy to see some holiday sights a little earlier this year.
“Don’t get me wrong, we still planned a Thanksgiving meal,” Williams said. “I just wanted to surround my family with all the colors and joy Christmas brings.”
After constant inquiries from her daughter, Kimi Mizusawa also decided to put up a Christmas tree earlier than normal.
“My daughter would not stop asking about Christmas, so we decided to put up the tree,” Mizusawa said. “She loves to put her toys on the tree and play around it.”
For this year’s holiday season, the management of Hawaii Care Choices decided to put a bright new star atop its building on Kapiolani Street to add some holiday cheer to Hilo’s night sky.
With the help of Craig Takamine and Takamine Construction, Hawaii Care Choices mounted the 10-foot star to serve as a beacon of hope for the community, according to spokesperson Lani Weigert.
“After the year we’ve all had, we wanted to do something different for the holidays,” Weigert said. “The star will shine until New Year’s Day as a reminder of our loved ones passed and the hopes and dreams for the new year.”
Hawaii Care Choices will also be hosting a free virtual event called “Season of Hope” to celebrate Christmas at 5 p.m. on Dec. 23 on its Facebook and Youtube pages.
Email Kelsey Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org