Every holiday season, the Kaimuki community lights up the tree perched atop Puu o Kaimuki Park. It twinkles above the sleepy town as a wonderful reminder that the holidays have arrived in the islands! This Christmas, however, it looks like a lack of funding will be the grinch that steals its shine.

The city used to be in charge of lighting and maintaining the tree. But that torch has since been passed onto a local community association, which says it can no longer be the bearer of light, according to Hawaii News Now. This surprised many residents; every year, they wrap up the town’s annual Christmas parade with the lighting of the tree. This year, it remained in the dark.

The tree is not a real tree but rather metal configured into a cone-shaped tree. The lights dangle along the edges and used to turn on every night during the holiday season. Even after the parade, people would come up to the park to enjoy the Kaimuki tree. We used to set out our blanket and look for shooting stars.

This isn’t the first time the tree did not turn on. In 2009, the city also lacked the funds to man the tree. According to a Midweek article, it would cost about $10,000 for a crew to decorate the tree. Obviously, that’s a chunk of change that could have been spent elsewhere.

You can still visit the tree at the top of this community park. It won’t be nearly as pretty as if it were lit but still very cool. The tree has become an icon for this community that will continue to shine a positive light on Kaimuki – whether it is lit or not!

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