It’s absolutely true that some of the best things about the holidays are free. You can prove it to yourself and your family by taking a spin around O‘ahu to take in the lights. Individual homes are beaming with care and creativity, and whole streets are now getting into the act. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers this round up.
The Yoshida's spectacular on Anapau Place features over 40 thousand lights, see the finale here.
One of the houses in Waikele has a little village in their window with a running train! See it here.
Want to check out national competition? Matt Johnson's 2015 dub step extravaganza ended with Gangnam Style. See it here.
Have the holidays been losing their luster for you, at all? Snaking around parking lots, brake lights all aglow? There are some people who have been planning for this season since January!
“Usually in the beginning of the year there’s a store that sells wires and stuff so we usually order it.”
Danae lives here on Anapau Place in Waikele—the street that competed in last year’s ABC network Christmas Light Fights featuring streets blazing with tiny bulbs across the nation. Christmas lights are a thing you know.
“During Thanksgiving week we start preparing because we plan to have our Christmas lights up after Thanksgiving. So it’s a lot of organizing, going through our lights, and looking at the plans from last year.”
These are people who commute hours a day, homework, sports, housework, but they make time.
“A lot of times we do it early in the morning to get things done. So we’re just like, do we really have to do this? But in the end it’s really worth it.”
The eighty or so visitors here right now certainly agree.
“This is Awesome! We love it. We are Christmas light crazy in Canada. So we came for a vacation and the first thing I did was look up “Christmas lights in Hawai‘i.” and Keith and Nalani’s show showed up. So we said we must see these people. We didn’t know them, but we do the same thing at home.”
Marilyn and Darrell and Keith and Nalani are fast friends now. Here at the Yoshida’s house…there’s a red and white train full of reindeer in front, candy canes, icicles of course, sparkling snowflakes, 3-D exploding orbs, snowmen, Christmas trees, sequential lights are bouncing across the lawn, and cascade like streamers from the strobing star on the roof.
“So it looks like it’s all coordinated, which it is.”
That’s Keith Yoshida. He’s not a computer programmer or anything. This is just a hobby.
”We’ve always decorated and I always wanted to do something bigger and better every year. So one year I was looking on the internet and I thought, we can’t add more lights because you run out of room, right? Oh, we can synchronize the lights to music! I said okay, we can do that, so that’s how we got into this.”
The Yoshida’s have over forty thousand lights going on their home—LED’s on solar power. It’s their 6th year of synchronized lights and now fourteen homes on Anapau Place are programmed together!
“Oh yeah, you can’t count the hours. If you count the hours, it’s less than minimum wage.”
“Negative! You have to pay for the lights!”
Neighbor Terry Reis’s yard is decked out as Zane’s Zoo for his grandson, with lighted pigs, donkeys, a bear, a giraffe! He made the drone video of last year's lights that got over a quarter million views!
“Next week and especially the week before Christmas, you know the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it’s going to look like Mardi Gras down here. It’s going to be full on.”
Hopoe Place the next street over is so lovely too. Look for the house with the snowy little village inside. So many little kids, so many oldsters! Strolling, looking closely, holding each other for photographs. Madison and her mom and dad were among them.
“I don’t think it needs snow to be in the Christmas spirit. Just that everybody’s happy and spends time with their family I think is the best part. It would be cool to have snow but fake snow, no snow, it’s still fun!”
This is Rain’s first Christmas on Anapau Place, She just moved into the neighborhood a few months ago. So far so good.
“It’s just having everybody come and having the neighbors be so kind and caring about each other. They’re super amazing.”
Darrell the Canadian: “Actually you know what brings us together? We love the people who come and watch them. It shines a little night on them. We illuminate the night for them. They come, and they feel it, and they go away happy, and it just lifts their spirits. That’s why we do it. That’s how crazy we are about it.”
‘Ewa has some fine lights. Kāne‘ohe side, Christmas Lane, Namoku Street behind Windward City Shopping Center, will cure what ails you. If not, try that one heart full house on Nakuluai street nearby. I heard the Ing family house on Booth Road in Pauoa is looking great, and there are a few houses bedecked with cheer on Kalanianaole Highway in East O‘ahu.
723 Hau‘oli Street is simply lovely, as are Lally and Ralph. I'm sure Neighbor Islands have plenty of expressive houses.
Go for the lights and stay for the people. You won’t be disappointed.
There is a website with a guide to light displays, but it is not necessarily correct this year.