Holiday parades bring us together

by Michelle Orian-Lau | Dec. 10, 2022

Each year during the holidays, you’ll usually find me and the automotive area at our Ward Baseyard covered in glitter. It’s because I get to help Hawaiian Electric celebrate the holidays by decorating our vehicles for several holiday parades across Oahu. Fortunately, I have a small army of Hawaiian Electric elves that I can count on to help me spread holiday glitter — I mean cheer.

With COVID-19 putting parades on hold for the previous two years, our Hawaiian Electric elves went into hibernation. I was one of the employees who started working from home during the pandemic. The folks in Fleet Services, Warehouse and Transmission & Distribution continued to work tirelessly on-site to help deliver power to our customers. Our little parade team didn’t see each other for more than two years.

Then restrictions started easing, hybrid work schedules were introduced and before I knew it — the parades were back! And I was back at our Ward Baseyard, distributing the appropriate amount of glitter around the place. (No joke. Holiday decorations have a limitless amount of glitter.)

For the most part, we all just picked up where we left off. Shane Takamatsu coordinated the reservation of the bucket truck we’d be decorating and the countless other things he does to make our parade participation possible. Todd Poliahu brought down our decorations from the warehouse. The mechanics made room for us to take over part of their garage. We were a well-oiled parade machine again.

But a lot happens in two years. Babies are born. Children graduate. Coworkers retire. Friends get sick (and fortunately well again). When the elves reunited this year, we found there was a lot of catching up to do.

Our company participates in holiday parades because it brings people together and helps communities grow stronger. And this year, the parades brought our employees together again — making our Hawaiian Electric community a little bit stronger, too.

Our parade team had a chance to reconnect. Many employees met each other for the first time when they brought their loved ones to march in one of the four Oahu parades. The 2022 Little League World Series Champs even joined in on the fun at the Honolulu City Lights Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade. And being able to bring smiles to keiki watching on the sidewalks, especially after these last two years, was worth a bucket-truck’s weight in gold glitter.

Working on the holiday parades has always been a part of my job. But this year, it was more than that. It felt like seeing an old friend again.

And to all my parade friends in Fleet and Warehouse, thank you for all you do and I’m sorry for all the glitter. We sincerely try to clean it up, but that stuff just gets everywhere.

If you’d like to check out our festive cheer, you can catch the rebroadcasts of the Honolulu City Lights Electric Light Parade:

  • Dec. 17, 7 p.m. on KHON

Or follow our Hawaiian Electric social media channels for our pictures and videos from the Pearl City, Waimanalo and Kapolei parades as well as the holiday events with our ohana on Hawaii Island and Maui County.

You can also support the Honolulu City Lights by purchasing official ornaments. All proceeds go toward keeping the Honolulu City Lights celebration free to the public. During the holidays, the ornaments are also available for sale at First Hawaiian Bank and Macy’s locations on Oahu.

Michelle Orian-Lau is a senior communications consultant at Hawaiian Electric Company.

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Hawaiian Electric

Established in 1891, Hawaiian Electric is committed to empowering its customers and communities by providing affordable, reliable, clean and sustainable energy.