Tonight, on Christmas Eve, as little boys and girls lay down in their beds (with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads), we take it back about 80 years to when Santa would visit the children of Kamalō.
In a special to The Honolulu Advertiser published in 1995, Marion Ah Ping-Hufen shared her story of spending the Christmases of her youth on Molokai:
All the children of Kamalo would gather in the Japanese schoolhouse to sing Christmas carols and wait for Santa. Sitting on the wooden floor, the children would sing “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” while waiting for the Big Man to arrive.
Then, bells! As the jingling got louder and louder, the residents of Kamalo would turn on their lanterns and the headlights of the cars—a duty the older boys took over—to welcome Santa with a brightly-lit path.
The children sang “Jingle Bells” as loud as they could, to make sure that Santa knew they were there and would stop for a visit.
And visit he did! He told the children about all of his travels, and then, one by one, called up each child—all of them on the Nice List, of course—to give them a brown grocery bag full of goodies. Each child got the same thing: an apple, an orange, nuts, raisins, and sweet, sticky candy that they licked off the bags so as to not waste it.
As quick as he arrived, Santa left. The bells and hoofbeats grew faint, and Christmas had officially come to Kamalo again.
Read Marion’s original story here.