Openings, closings and Christmas events

“There is no time of year like Christmas” says Governor

A peaceful American Samoa will join Christians around the world tomorrow to celebrate Christmas, while today is already Christmas Day in some parts of the world such as in Samoa and Tonga, New Zealand and Australia.
Since it moved across the International Dateline two years ago, Samoa was the first to welcome Christmas 2013.
Like the rest of the United States and its territories, our soldiers are being remembered by families and friends as they continue to serve around the world including in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan.
“Let us not forget our heroes serving in the Armed Forces of the United States and let our collective prayers instill the peace of God in their hearts during Christmas Day and throughout the holidays,” Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said in his first Christmas message as the chief executive.
“There is no other time of the year than Christmas in which we experience feelings of joy and happiness, coupled with our sense of forgiveness, love, and celebrating God’s gift to us, the birth of His only Begotten Son as prophesied through the scriptures,” he said. (See elsewhere in today’s Samoa News edition regarding the governor’s message).
This time of the year, many will spend Christmas with their families and friends, after church services tonight as well as more church services tomorrow morning. And depending on the family’s tradition, Christmas gifts will be opened either tonight or first thing in the morning.
Yesterday’s traffic was very busy in various areas of Tutuila, especially the Laufou Shopping Center and in Utulei around the Bank of Hawai’i.
Today’s traffic is expected to be worse due to last minute shopping, with back ups sure to occur — in both the east and west sides.  — The Laufou Shopping Center back up is expected to be the worse.
And from 9a.m. to 11a.m. today, all agencies of the Executive Branch will engage in the general clean up, which was ordered by the governor more than a week ago through a general memorandum.
Many shops in the territory have stayed open longer hours since last week and will continue to stay open later than usual on Christmas Eve. Samoa News understands that at least two retailers — in the Nu’uuli area — plan to open Christmas morning for any last minute shopping.
Grocery stores are reporting that they are prepared for the Christmas rush — and along with shops, they are banking on Christmas shopping to increase revenue.
And if you don’t want to cook this year, some local restaurants are offering Christmas brunch at a special price. (See Samoa News advertisements for more details).
Governor Lolo had already declared that Christmas Day will be observed on Dec. 25 (tomorrow) and New Year’s Day, will be observed Jan. 1, 2014 (also a Wednesday). Therefore all government offices will be closed on these designated holidays and ASG employees working on these days will be compensated according to applicable laws and regulations.
The majority of the territory’s businesses — including Bank of Hawai’i and ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank — will also be closed tomorrow in observance of Christmas 2013, while StarKist Samoa is currently on a two-week shutdown and will resume production in the new year.
The U.S. Post Office in Fagatogo will be open today for usual business hours and will be closed Christmas Day.
For U.S. nationals heading to Samoa and in need of a permit, the Samoa Consulate Office in Fagatogo is open today for regular business hours. The office will be closed tomorrow.
The latest reports out of Apia say that Samoa was in full swing celebrating Christmas and yesterday was a very busy day in downtown Apia.
Samoa News will not publish a print tomorrow in observance of Christmas Day but will return on Thursday and of course the website will be updating as usual since Santa’s helpers, those pesky news reporters, will be out and about checking to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
From the Staff and Management of Samoa News, We Wish American Samoa a Very Merry Christmas.


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