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5 Things We Love

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A person can never have too many ornaments

It’s not my fault. I didn’t choose my birthday. But what happens to someone born between Christmas and New Year’s?

Two words: Ornament addiction.

Shiny. Sparkly. Homemade. Doesn’t matter. If it can be hung on a tree — or, in my case, trees — it is likely to be living in one of the dozen or so boxes recently pulled out of my garage and closets.

They are organized according to theme. The annual ones from Iolani Palace. Ocean/marine life. Squirrels. Turtles. Hawaiian. Cities and countries visited.

The miniature koa outrigger canoe even has wooden reindeer in place of paddlers. Rudolph is the steersman.

I am not alone. Several friends with Christmastime birthdays share the sickness. We call each other while out shopping to say, "Step away from the ornaments."

We justify it, agreeing that people are too busy to celebrate our birthdays during the holidays. So we overcompensate.

Still, I have not found an excuse for all the bunny and egg ornaments I hang on the Easter trees. — Cindy Luis 

Dreaming of a bright Christmas

Whether they sparkle or blink, holiday lights are the signature of the season. I can’t imagine Christmas without strings of them lining the eaves of my house, hanging from the wall by the sidewalk or marking the peak of my roof.

For me, nothing screams "Merry Christmas" with as much voltage as several hundred bulbs. It’s been that way for 24 years. Even when all I had was a hand railing or a picture window, I made them my holiday canvas.

The lights go up right after Thanksgiving and stay put through New Year’s Eve. Taking them down is the saddest day of the year.

They are at their best, of course, right now, with holiday anticipation still rising. They stir the heart with nostalgia and free the child in all of us to dream of Christmas. — Mike Gordon

Holiday flavors make Kisses an extra sweet indulgence

With their jumbo chocolate-chip shape and romantic name, Hershey’s Kisses have an appeal all their own. But once you get past the foil wrapper, they’re just hunks of milk chocolate — right? Not so at Christmas time. Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and Mint Truffle Kisses keep me returning to the candy aisle. The Candy Cane ones are white chocolate infused with minty goodness, topped off with a red stripe and swirled with crunchy candy bits. The Mint Truffle Kisses are buttery dark chocolate filled with minty cream. Both will find their home in my desk drawer — hidden away where my kids can’t find them. — Donica Kaneshiro

Hark! The herald Dylan sings holiday classics

Want to spice up your holiday party this year? Treat your guests to Bob Dylan crooning Christmas classics. If nothing else, it’ll make for great party conversation. Dylan brings his distinctive sound — raspy, nasally, rough around the edges — to such staples as "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Silver Bells" and "The First Noel" on his 2009 album, "Christmas in the Heart" (Columbia, $11.98 ). But be forewarned: Not everyone will appreciate the pure genius of the most influential singer-songwriter of our time. When I first played the CD for my wife and kids, they broke out in hysterical laughter. — Rob Perez

Invite Frosty, the Grinch, Charlie Brown to your TV

Nothing boosts the holiday spirit like classic movies and a cup of hot cocoa. "It’s a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "A Christmas Carol" are among the top festive films. For lighter fare, I enjoy "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town." Some DVD sets include several of these popular titles.

Among my absolute favorites are "Elf," "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." After all, who cannot love an oversized elf played by Will Ferrell, the cheerful antics of the Whos down in Who-ville or the Peanuts gang’s discovery of the true meaning of Christmas? — Nancy Arcayna

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