Polynesian Christmas: Family Tiki

Tikis originate with Maori mythology, Tiki being the first man. What we know as tikis, humanoid carvings in wood, evolved across Polynesian cultures to represent and honour ancestors. Tikis guard sacred spaces. As we strive to make our homes sacred spaces – sanctuaries from the world if you will – then I thought we should have tikis for Christmas this year.

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Image by falco from Pixabay

Like me,ave you had a very Amazon Christmas? You can put those boxes to good use to build a tiki. I’ve been planning to do this – pictured below – and I have the collection of boxes in my garage. We won’t get it done before Christmas, I don’t think. Not at the rate we are going. But the holiday is young and there’s no rule that says we can’t do it after the big day.

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I also enjoy making a tiki out of a brown paper bag.

Fold it in half and write whatever you want in cursive. In the example below I wrote our last name: Phillips. Cut around the letters and open it up.

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Voila! Easy, personalized tiki. In fact, I think I even like this more than the box tikis.

Perhaps in a future life I will try my hand at carving a tiki. Until then I’ve got carboard boxes and brown paper bags. Not the same, but not nothing.

A word of note: tikis resemble the totem poles from the Peoples of the Pacific Northwest. While I’m unaware of any anthropological connection, and the totems are carvings of animals instead of ancestors, I think it’s fascinating. I grew up in awe and love of totems so I felt an immediate connection with tikis.

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This post is part of our month-long exploration into Polynesian Christmas traditions and inspirations. See the whole collection of activities and discoveries here.

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