When to open presents

24 12 2020

It’s Christmas Eve at the studio, and there are presents under the tree. DH asked me, when shall we open them? I can tell he’s excited, but we haven’t hung up our stockings yet, and it’s still daylight in the Islands. He asks, maybe one?

Some families attend Christmas Eve midnight service and open gifts after they return home from church.

Some folks wait until Christmas morning, you know, to see what Santa Claus brought. Remember to leave him a treat.

Our granddaughters are allowed to open one each at 5:30 on Christmas morning, and then they have to wait until the rest of the family gets up to open the rest.

When I was a kid, my father would count the presents under the tree addressed to him and open one a day starting that many days before Christmas Day. So, if there were five, he would start opening on December 21. Clever guy, my dad. Who’s the kid, now?

Whenever you open your presents, remember that a gift isn’t a gift until it is received. Receive with gladness and acknowledge the reason for the season.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! Or, as we say in Hawaiian, Mele Kalikimaka! May all your dreams come true.

~ Rebekah 

Odd Christmastime

21 12 2020

Christmastime 2020 seems odd to me. I can’t articulate my feelings well, except to note that Kilauea volcano started to erupt at Halemaumau last night. The video footage I saw was beautiful.

The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, the “Christmas star” seen over the manger 2020 years ago, is happening again.

We’re exchanging gifts of home-baked cookies with neighbors and friends, but with face masks on and from a distance because of the pandemic; no hugging.

I am making a pecan pie for my two painting students who are bringing lunch on the 23rd. It’s the final class of Painting I, and coincidentally the studio setup is comprised of the complements red and green Christmas colors.

Chef Logan, who usually delivers our mid-day meal, is taking a break, only to make it up by providing an intimate Dinner for Two for my darling husband and me on Christmas Day. We don’t have to cook!

All this seems odd to me because all I really planned to share was the reindeer Rudolf that my father-in-law—whose father’s name also was Rudolph—made to wish us a Merry Christmas.

“Crater View,” 40” x 30” hand-dyed tissue-paper collage by Rebekah Luke
Holiday cookies

Chef’s creation

Christmas colors


~ Rebekah


The twelfth day of Christmas

6 01 2020

Mister Snowman and Rudolph

We let these two stay up until the twelfth day of Christmas. Rudolph has turned off his shiny nose until next year. I mua! Onward!

The first storied Christmas tree

21 12 2019

Mary Dominis, of New England, is credited with bringing the first Christmas to Hawaii in 1858. She was the wife of the first Governor. Last night on an evening tour of Washington Place, the official Governor’s mansion in Honolulu, I was charmed by her handmade ornaments.

I see Santa

25 12 2018

Merry Christmas from all of us at the studio! ~ DH, JJ, and Rebekah

Virtual snow

7 12 2016

Aloha, studio fans! As you can see it’s snowing at Rebekah’s Studio! In reality it is the time of ho‘oilo, the wet and rainy season in Hawai‘i. Damp and muddy! Amid the hustle and bustle of the season and the busy highways, I remind myself to drive safely and really be aware of what is around me. It’s a crazy time of year in many ways.

At the studio we are still wrapping up a couple of publishing projects—a coffee table book for my high school class’s 50th reunion (you do the math, haha!) and a second printing of a family recipe book, originally published in 1999. Painting and music classes are finishing up for the year. The holiday calendar of events is starting to fill now, too.

Be kind to each other. I wish you all much deserved peace and serenity, inside and out, with plenty of aloha! ~ Rebekah

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)


Christmas family memory

6 12 2015

WAHIAWA — Momma used to save butcher paper, the heavy pink paper with dark fibers that the butcher wrapped meat in. I wonder who remembers butcher paper. In those days she recycled everything. She traded the morning Advertiser with Uncle Harry and Aunty Edna next door for the afternoon Star-Bulletin to read. She saved the plastic bags from the poi to reuse, long before today’s ubiquitous plastic came across the Pacific from Hong Kong. Paper grocery bags lined the trash cans. The animals got our food scraps. Those were the days we had a party line and had to dial “0” for the operator to make a long-distance phone call.

The butcher paper. She sponge-washed and dried the sheets all year. Then around Christmas she would finger paint on them. Sometimes she cut out designs from half a raw potato to make pretty stamps, like a Christmas tree or a sprig of holly. And sometimes she let me finger paint, too. I don’t recall ever playing with mud, but the feeling of finger paint oozing around my hands is probably like that. It was fun to decorate.

To dry our creations, she crawled under the grand piano, a Howard, in the living room and spread the painted papers flat on the maroon wool rug. (Dad’s choice of color in the Fifties.) Our house was a small two-bedroom plantation cottage rented from Uncle and Aunty, and the painted papers shared the floor with Dad’s record collection. He had a huge Scott radio/record player.

Funny. I wonder where the piano and record collection went.

So, if you can imagine in our small parlor—it was called a parlor, not a living room—there was the Scott, a blue overstuffed couch, matching overstuffed chair, the grand piano, and Momma’s sheet music cabinet. She was a piano teacher.

And she made her own Christmas wrapping paper! With hardly any more room in the parlor, especially after the first TV of the neighborhood moved in, she would set up the card table in the bedroom between the double bed and her green metal dressing table, the kind with a big tri-fold mirror, drawers both left and right, a bench in front, and a place for a comb-brush-hand mirror set on top. Where I used to play dress-up in her fancy gowns. There is where we both spent delightful times wrapping presents.

Colorful monochromatic papers of deep shades of blue, green, red, violet—so vibrant. Momma showed me how to crease the paper around the corners of a box and Scotch-tape them closed. The packages came to life with ribbons and bows of gold and silver. Even today, two and a half generations later, my cousins tell me they remember the beautiful sight of those packages under the tree.

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke

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