To be honest, this new retail trend of getting a jump on Black Friday doesn't bother me as much as it does most people I know. I'm more annoyed by the in-store appearance of Christmas decorations before Halloween. I'm a traditionalist; I still consider Thanksgiving Day to be the official start of the holiday season.
This year, I'm looking forward to adding a new tradition to my Thanksgiving weekend. No, it's not shopping at 6 a.m. Thursday - although I must admit, I am tempted to join the madness later that evening. After I've had my fill of turkey and pumpkin pie. Come to think of it, frenzy shopping would be a great way to burn off the calories from that second serving of stuffing.
Regardless of whether I spend Thanksgiving night as a couch potato or a shopping animal, I do plan to begin my holiday gift-buying this weekend, at the annual Bailey House benefit concert. Last year, I did most of my shopping there, and will probably do the same this year. Over a dozen vendors will offer handcrafted goodies and original artwork; everything from feather lei and jewelry to fabric bags and household items. Bren Bailey will bring a wide assortment of vintage Hawaiian treasures, and author Jill Engledow will be there with her wonderful "Haleakala: A History of the Maui Mountain," which is a perfect gift for anyone who loves the mountain or loves Maui. The museum gift shop will be open, too, with its usual bounty of made-in-Hawaii goodies. It's also one of the few places you can still buy books and CDs by local authors and artists.
The theme this year is "E Pulama Mau 'O Maui-Cherish Maui's History" - which is really the essence of the Maui Historical Society's mission. Besides operating the Bailey House Museum and the Chas Fisher Memorial Gardens, which feature native Hawaiian plants and missionary-era non-native species, the MHS maintains an Archival Resource Center that includes some 2,000 artifacts and over 8,000 historic photos, along with maps and manuscripts and all sorts of documents. Proceeds from Saturday's event will help fund museum operations. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Besides the shopping opportunities listed above, the celebration from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will also feature Hawaiian games and crafts, a silent auction, free admission to the museum and food, glorious food! - including the Ho'opi'i 'ohana's famous Hawaiian plate, Sumo Dogs, kettle popcorn and more.
We'll enjoy a full day of Hawaiian entertainment by Halau Na Hanona Kulike o Pi'ilani with Kumu Kapono'ai Molitau and Kumu Sissy Lake-Farm, Uncle George Kahumoku Jr., Kumu Iola Balubar and Halau Hula o Keola Ali'i o ke Kai, the Hawaiian Serenaders, and 'Ahahui 'O Ka'ahumanu. Celtic harpist Bobbie Jo Curley will open the program, and the Maui Madrigal singers will be caroling on the museum balcony, looking like 19th-century missionaries in their gorgeous period costumes. I have the honor of emceeing, and I plan to bring my alter ego, Tita, along to perform her pidgin version of "Da Night Befo' Christmas."
It will be a lovely day, and the perfect follow-up will take place the next afternoon in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. Tita and I will share emcee duties with Tim Wolfe at the Harps and Horns concert. Bobbie Jo and the Maui Madrigal will be there as well, as the Festival of Harps and the Maui Community Band take the stage together in the first concert of its kind on the Valley Isle. It's a fundraiser for the band, and who knows, perhaps it will become a local holiday tradition.
So never mind that the stores are already playing Christmas music and some have even sold out of ornaments and fancy wrap; my holiday season starts tomorrow, with traditions old and new. I'll feast with family tomorrow and celebrate with the community on Saturday and Sunday. And maybe see you at the mall in between.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.