Every year around this time, before Thanksgiving and Christmas, I don my crafter’s hat with joyous energy to begin the sometimes arduous but certainly satisfying task of creating a whole bunch of Christmas lapel pins and table decorations to share the joy of the yuletide.

Christmas pins reflect the spirit of the yuletide; some folks wear ’em on face masks.

Yes, Virginia, there is a tradition worth continuing. I get to play Santa.

This practice began decades ago when I was newspapering and column-writing and hopping from one show to another, at a time when Waikiki was jumping. These pandemic days, there are only a few venues with music and fewer special Christmas concerts. Sorta means there is a skosh more time to do holiday crafts.

And what’s Christmas if you can’t share and share the goodwill and merriment of the yuletide?

Enter, the pins.

They are rather silly trinkets that most women adore receiving; in recent years, folks have begun to wear their pins not on lapels or blouses/shirts but on their face marks. Not the same thing, but somewhat akin to placing sticker on your car’s bumper. The pins express a message of sorts.

The past two Christmases, my pins with Santa designs, had St. Nick donning face masks. For 2021, I decided to minimize the masked Santa, with intentions and hopes for a holiday where no one needs to don a mask.

That is not yet his his year. So a few masked Santas have been produced.

Making pins – unrelated to my “other” hobby of creating assorted notecards, largely with island motifs – require purchasing “ingredients,” so to speak. This includes images and stickers with holiday themes, including snowmen, reindeer, elves, penguins and yes, mini Christmas trees.

I have beaucoup storage bins containing these collectibles, along with cords, ribbons, glittery trims ranging from stick-on tapes to sequined patches.  Lauhala swaths enable me to create a few island-feeling trees that project a Hawaii flavor; with greenery and red holly berries, it says “Kalikimaka.”

Table decorations feature a multitude of themes: trees, snowmen, gingerbread houses.

Miniature gingerbread figures — men and women — add more variety to the plate. Often, a gingerbread house sticker or charm adds a whisper of nostalgia. And plastic figures of Santa and snowmen, with installed batteries, enable the figure to glow with a simple switch.

Imagination is the key element in putting these pieces together.

Crafters know the value of a glue gun and glue sticks, to create the right look with the right fixings. And yes, there are glue burns along the way. Pin backs glued  on the back of the decoration can result in glue gun burns, too.

Because everything is hand-made, no two pins are alike except in spirit. Might add a teen Santa’s cap to one gingerbread boy and a mini red bead on a gingerbread girl. Adding a little different something gives each pin different personalities.

And then comes another tier of completing the journey. Buying boxes of assorted sizes to pack and ready the items for the post office. These postal workers are especially busy this time of year, so I appreciate the valuable service they provide. Even if postal rates continue rise.

I deliver some of these creations to my doctors and dentist, to say mahalo for their service. Ditto, the postal souls who weigh and process the postage.And my longtime bankers.

You can’t begin to explain how these silly “gifts” mean to the everyday work horses. The value is practically none, but you see the joy in the sparkle of the eyes and the wide and gleaming smiles. I recall distributing a few pins last fall, and another during Easter, when I underwent same-day surgery at Queen’s. The appreciation was unforgettable; I mean, how often do you receive a sweet note from a few someones who helped in the wellness of your body?

There’s a measure of regret, too; I’m sorry I can’t create more inventory to offer to more folks. A few strangers want to purchase, but I normally don’t sell, since my stock quickly disappears. I donated a few pins and a few notecards to the Saturday (Nov. 20) craft fair at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and the items were sold by a volunteer group. That’s the lone “fair” exposure for me this year.t

I’m in the midst of packing and preparing scores of pins and decorations to share with my ohana and colleagues, past and present. It feels ‘swonderful to have creative what looks mighty festive, when multiples are assembled.

By the time the last stems of fake holly and other trinkets and the last glitter dust and errant beads are vacuumed off the carpet of my livingroom work space, it will be December.

Then the routine begins again, with a focus on a different holiday. Like, Valentine’s in February. …

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