HONOLULU (KHON2) — For more than 40 years, the Tajiri family has been bringing the Christmas spirit to the islands with a beautiful selection of pine scented trees. And while the tents are up and the familiar red trailer is back, the family returns without Mr. Christmas himself: owner Richard Tajiri. Tajiri lost his battle to cancer earlier this year, says a family member.

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“It’s super difficult,” said wife Paula Tajiri.  “But luckily we have regular workers and local Hawaiian guys so that makes a big difference.”

But not having Richard around isn’t the only big difference this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, roaming through the pine scented forest in search of the perfect tree will not be allowed. Instead customers will drive into the lot and around the tents. There, they will be directed to park in a specific area based on the size of tree they are looking for.

“The bigger trees are more toward the container and the small trees on the side. And when you go into our parking, I’ll be showing you the trees from inside the tent,” Paula explained.

Paula says there will be a limited, but ample selection of trees to choose from. She adds that all the trees are in excellent condition, because she picked them herself. Just last weekend, she and her daughter, along with a few other helpers, loaded up trees in Oregon.

“(It) was very cold and it was rainy, so it’s nice to see blue skies in Hawaii,” Paula shared.

Paula says there will only be about 2,500 trees this year, which is a thousand fewer than last year. The pop-up shop plans to keep a running tab on its website to provide live updates for how many trees are left on a daily basis.

“Usually we can kind of talk person to person. I don’t even know if we can talk to them because you have to drive through and you have to stay in the car, so yeah, it’s definitely a different experience.” she explained.

And although the cost of the trees will be slightly higher this year due to an increase in business expenses, Paula said she simply had to be here for her customers.

“It’s not a business. It’s more like we need to carry the Christmas spirit. That’s why I’m here.” she said.

The trees are already on island. Paula says they’ll arrive on the lot Wednesday, Nov. 18. The trees will be flocked and then go on sale Saturday, Nov. 21, with green tree sales starting Nov. 24.

For more information, visit their website.

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