‘Tis the season that holds significant memories, traditions and customs. Here, prominent figures from Hawaii share a little bit of insight on their personal holiday stories.

Compiled By Melissa Moniz, Yu Shing Ting And Darlene Dela Cruz

CAROL AI MAY

VICE-PRESIDENT OF CITY MILL

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

Basically all Christmases are great with my husband Mike and my family. One Christmas Eve party stands out in particular, and that’s when my friend started playing Christmas carols on the piano, and my son Evan, who was in grade school (then just learning how to play the violin), accompanied him with the violin. Then everyone started singing Christmas carols – the sound was just beautiful!

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

I have had a Christmas Eve party every year since the year I graduated from college. When my sons were younger, I would bake mass quantities of cookies for gifts and have them make their own gingerbread houses.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

To be honest, I think of Christmas as a time of celebration, and the gifts are secondary. However, my favorite gift was a Santa Claus stuffed doll I received when I was 4 years old from my Aunty Peggy Eu. It became my all-time favorite childhood toy. The little guy is totally threadbare now!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Carol of the Bells and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

JIMMY BORGES

ENTERTAINER

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

Watching my 5-year-old daughter Steffanie open her presents wearing mittens in a small hotel room in Quebec City, Canada when it was 28 degrees below outside. I was singing there over the holidays and my daughter traveled with my wife and me.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

Calling my family and close friends and singing Silent Night in Hawaiian instead of sending Christmas cards.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A call from Shirley MacLaine’s husband, Steve Parker, asking me to come to Las Vegas and star in their show at the New Frontier Hotel.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Two songs – The Christmas Song and Po La’i E (Silent Night).

MUFI HANNEMANN

MAYOR OF HONOLULU

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

Mom & Dad gathering the family together on Christmas morning for annual Christmas songs and prayer.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

Marching in the annual Christmas parades each year.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

The gift of the atonement of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

I have two favorite songs to sing each Christmas – the classic, The Christmas Song, by Mel Torme, and Christmas Time Again, Aloha, by my brother Nephi Hannemann, which we’ve also recorded.

CONSTANCE H. LAU

HEI PRESIDENT & CEO
HECO CHAIRWOMAN & CEO
AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK CHAIRWOMAN & CEO

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

Our kids in their sleeping bags spending the night in front of the fireplace in the middle of our train set waiting for Santa to come.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

Taking an exotic vacation so we can take a memorable family photo to share with our family and friends at Christmas.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A “white Christmas” at Winterpark, Colo., with the entire family

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

White Christmas

TIA CARRERE

ACTRESS AND SINGER

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

Without a doubt, my daughter’s first Christmas. She was exactly 3 months old. We carried her out from her room to the tree singing, “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree …”

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

I just make sure we have a tree of some sort. I’ve had big giant trees, smaller trees, and once a beautiful tabletop version made of feathers when I didn’t feel like all the clean-up work.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

I don’t really care about receiving gifts so I’d have to say it’s having my family around during Christmas.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

It’s a toss up between O Holy Night and Merry Christmas, Darling. Oh, and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire). Do I have to choose just one?

NICK NG PACK

PRESIDENT AND CEO OF MILICI VALENTI NG PACK

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

I remember going to Christmas Mass early in the morning when I was about 12 and living in the suburbs of New York. My family had to walk about half-a-mile through a foot of freshly falling snow, and it was so silent, magical and clean. It was something out of White Christmas.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

Staying up until midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and then rushing home to tear open presents while enjoying eggnog and pastries. And then we’d watch Scrooge every year.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

A New York Giants football helmet my siblings gave me when I was about 13. I slept with it next to my pillow.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Silver Bells.