Tis the season to be crafty! Something about this time of year makes many want to put on their coziest PJs, warm up some hot cocoa and do something artsy. Whether it’s making your own Christmas cards or creating the perfect gingerbread man, the holiday season inspires us to use our imagination and to produce creative magical masterpieces.

Hands down, some of the coolest holiday wreaths out there.

Honolulu Hale really gets into the spirit. There’s the annual tree lighting and then the annual Holiday Wreath Contest, a perfect outlet for Hawaii residents to put their Christmas craftiness to use. For the past 26 years, the mayor’s Office of Culture and Arts encourages participants of all ages to enter in any of the three contest pisions: Adults (18 and older), Children and Youth (17 and younger) and Theme Category. This goes for both the inpiduals and groups that best depict the year’s theme.

This year marks the 26th annual contest, with the theme of a “Holoholo (which means to go out for a pleasurable stroll, promenade) Holiday.”Hello, Kitty! Would you like some crayons or how about some maps?

Judging is based on creativity, workmanship and use of materials. Winners receive ribbons and monetary awards, which I’m sure comes in handy for last-minute Christmas shopping. First place prize is $150; second place is $100; and third place is $75. The Mayor’s Holly Award at $200 goes to “Best in Show.” There’s even six “Judges Choice Awards” at $25. With so many awards, almost anyone can be a winner!(Left) Wreath wandering. (Right) The Mayor’s Holly Award winner for this year, inspired by golden pears.

For the past 15 years, my art teacher mother has been participating in the annual contest with her students. The themes of their wreaths have ranged from Glam Rock to Volcanoes to Vintage Hawaii and more. They’ve won a handful of awards, too.

My mom has even wrangled me into entering when I was 10 years old. I made a hula girl gingerbread wreath. Although I didn’t win any awards, the experience was awesome, and it was amazing to see my hard work being displayed in that great hall.

When I visited the wreath contest this year, I was impressed at the persity of all of the wreaths’ components; from traditional organic materials to stuffed animals to wine corks. There were even a couple that were in a sunburst shape, some made from bicycle tires and one that was comprised of cut-out hands in an oval shape.

This year, my mother’s students had made a wreath that consisted of batik-dyed “rubber slippers” situated around a “wreath” made to look like the floor of the hall you were standing in! It is safe to say that the creative juices were flowing for these young participants, and the judges definitely had their work cut out for them!My mom and her students’ Christmas concoction (top right). Looks like the Honolulu Hale floor, huh?

If you are visiting Hawaii during the holidays, make sure you visit Honolulu Hale! It’s easy to find. In the front of the building, there’s a giant Christmas tree and an equally mammoth-sized Santa. Make it past the entrance and through the forest of decorated Christmas trees, then wander down a quiet hall to find yourself a treasure chest full of holiday gems. Who knows, maybe it will even inspire you to make your own piece of Christmas magic.

HONOLULU HALE’S ANNUAL HOLIDAY WREATH CONTEST • 530 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii • www.honolulucitylights.org • Dec. 3, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012

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