Christmas Carousel


NOVEMBER 1st through 4th
Abilene Civic Center

 Preparations have already begun! Make plans to attend the 32nd Annual Christmas Carousel. We invite you to join us in paradise – kick back, relax, and enjoy the holidays – island style!

The holidays are a joyous time of year, bringing families together from near and far, and brimming with discovery and wonderment for so many children around the world. With all the planning and primping we do, and the careful countdown looking forward to Santa’s arrival, we rarely spend time relaxing and enjoying the holiday season. The thought of sitting on a warm beach in Hawaii, listening to the sound of waves, is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of seasonal activities. Imagine…Christmas in paradise!

Christmas traditions of the Hawaiian Islands are a labor of love and creativity. Hawaiians import Christmas trees long before the official season arrives. Traveling across the Pacific Ocean, arriving on the “Christmas Tree Ship,” trees heighten the anticipation for many children. Families carefully select the very best trees – grand, noble firs and pines – sometimes even before Halloween is celebrated! Many families grow their own trees, while the more creative islanders create non-traditional Christmas trees by decorating palm trees in outdoor displays. Fittingly, an outrigger canoe and dolphins are substituted for Santa’s sleigh and reindeer.

Christmas was not formally introduced to Hawaii until after 1820, the year the Protestant missionaries came to Hawaii from New England. But the first Christmas celebration in Hawaii occurred in 1786 when Captain George Dixon docked the Queen Charlotte in Waimea Bay on the Island of Kauai. He commanded his crew to prepare a Christmas dinner including a roast pig, pies, and grog mixed with coconut milk. The English navigator led his men in toasting their families and friends back home.

In contrast to modern traditions, the Christian holiday coincided with a traditional Hawaiian festival, Makahiki. This ancient celebration lasted four months, including great feasts and games. During the holiday, wars and conflicts were strictly forbidden. As far as early Hawaiians were concerned, Makahiki was a time for “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”

In 1856, King Kamehameha IV declared December 25th to be his kingdom’s national day of thanksgiving. Two years later, Santa Claus made his first appearance in Hawaii, arriving at what is now the Governor’s residence to deliver gifts for the island children.

As the magic of the holiday season returns, I invite you to join the Junior League of Abilene for “Mele Kalikimaka” this November at the Abilene Civic Center. On Thursday, November 1st, the weekend festivities begin with Preview Party. Come enjoy cocktails, delicious food, and an exclusive opportunity to preview carefully selected merchants in a tropical setting. For the fashion-hearted, the Junior League presents our annual Style Show Luncheon on Friday, November 2nd. Enjoy a refreshing lunch with family and friends as we present the fabulous fashions of Dillard’s modeled by locals. Saturday festivities begin with our children’s event, where kids can enjoy an interactive, tasty breakfast snack, entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus himself, and much more. Our Saturday evening dinner show is sure to be the highlight of the weekend, what island experience would be complete without a luau? Join us for a night of delicious food, cocktails, and lively entertainment! On Sunday afternoon, teens and tweens are invited to our newest event to sample the latest in youth fashion.

In addition to our celebration events, Market Hall shops are open Friday, November 2nd through Sunday, November 4th. You’ll find a wonderful assortment of treasurers for everyone on your list.
As chairman for this year’s Christmas Carousel, I want to thank Abilene and the Big Country for adopting this little beach girl into your community. I am appreciative to all the women, families, businesses, and organizations who provide time, funding, and hours of work for this event each year. YOU make our annual fundraiser a success. I now understand why “everything is bigger in Texas” – because Abilene and the Big Country have a HUGE heart.


Debbi Lehr
Christmas Carousel Chairman 2012