It is the season, and at HILuxury we’re in the holiday spirit. Not to mention spirits. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Like everything else in Hawaii, the holidays are different here, starting with our own holiday songs, from Mele Kalikimaka to The Hawaiian 12 Days of Christmas. And going to the beach on Christmas was never something I considered when living on the Mainland, but it’s been a part of the Chapman family tradition for years.

Island ways have even permeated our Jewish friends’ celebration of Hannukah, which begins this year on Dec. 21. Dana Washofsky, past president of Temple Emanu-el, says some families here make taro latkes, pancakes traditionally made of potato. “And because Jewish people really don’t have anything to do on Christmas, we have the Menorah Classic, a golf tournament, on Christmas morning,” she says.

Perhaps the best thing about this holiday season is the family get-togethers. Talking and laughing with family and old friends is priceless, especially with students and ex-pats on the Mainland coming home to soak up the things they miss. This year they include my daughter, who will be coming home from Phoenix, where she works.

Speaking of families: All of us at HILuxury were so impressed with Olympic decathlon gold medalist Bryan Clay and his family. They are terrific, down-to-earth people, and their children were so well-behaved.

Now about those Christmas spirits. For the first time we’ve created a special HILuxury holiday cocktail. Here’s the behind-the-scenes scoop from ace food and spirits writer Jo McGarry, who came up with the idea.

“I asked Francesco Lafranconi, who is one of the top mixologists in the country, to create Christmas in a glass. I asked that the cocktail be white, because we don’t have snow here, and I wanted it to look like a candy cane and taste like Christmas. The result is this beautiful, creamy vanilla-chocolate cocktail with hints of raspberry and mint. I threw in the cinnamon-infused chocolates from Neiman Marcus to complete the cookies and milk theme.”

Nice. Leave this beverage out for Santa and we can pretty much guarantee he’ll be back next year for more.

But first it’s Christmas and Hannukah, not to mention Buddha’s Birthday on Dec. 8. Whatever you’re celebrating, thank you for sharing the holidays with HILuxury. May the season be wonderful for you and all those for whom you care.

tagged in Bryan Clay