In recent years, Christmas time in Hawaii has meant plenty of frivolous media updates about Barack Obama.

In general, Civil Beat has done its best to avoid tapping into the White House press pool for updates about presidential trips to the gym, dinner, military bases and the sands outside the door of his vacation rental, but #Instaweek is making up for Civil Beat’s presidential inattention this week by re-tracing Obama’s trip.

Note: Civil Beat would gladly cover Obama’s vacation on our site’s reported pages if he did the sort of things we suggested in this recent column.

Meanwhile, Civil Beat spent the week on some pretty serious stories.

There was Sophie Cocke’s article about her efforts to obtain full “public” documents related to an investigation into whether the biotech company Syngenta’s pesticides may have sickened children on Kauai. Among other things, the story highlights the difficulty and high cost involved in accessing public records in Hawaii, which is the topic of a recent Civil Beat special series.

It was also a week for a David vs. Goliath story. Nathan Eagle wrote about how a fairly small businessman on Maui seems to have successfully fended off the efforts of a billionaire Hollywood producer to become the island’s reigning movie mogul. It is more complex, and interesting, than that as Nathan wrote about a range of issues that include film tax credits and Maui politicians’ ties to filmmakers.

You may also have noticed PF Bentley’s photographs, which have been the anchor of our home page in recent weeks. We ran one of his photo series in our top slot, along with the observations of a man who has worked as a news photographer around the world and lived on Molokai for many years.

PF took us on a visual journey through the desolate beach village of Kaupoa on Molokai.

Sunday, Dec. 22

Local photojournalist Cory Lum, who worked at The Honolulu Advertiser for 10 years, has been following the president around and taking photos that are going viral on the Internet. He’s the designated pool photographer for a number of agencies, including Getty, Bloomberg and UPI.

On Instagram, Lum offers a behind-the-scenes look as he edits some of these photos which, moments later, show up beneath international headlines.

The first family took in the local college basketball game at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Stan Sheriff Center to cheer Oregon State University basketball coach Craig Robinson. He’s Michelle Obama’s brother.

On this one, I sort of picture a caption along the lines of: “This photo sugests the first family is like the rest of us.” Mega celebrities and world leaders are human after all.

Monday, Dec. 23

Here is Cory’s photo of Obama at the Mid-Pacific Country Club.

Obama waves at a bystander.

Tuesday, Dec. 24

On Monday, the state Department of Transportation placed barriers across the North Shore to block parking at Laniakea Beach.

The barriers are intended to help keep traffic flowing along the two-lane highway, but some residents have protested the plan, arguing that it will block beach access and put beach-goers in danger by forcing them to park along the road and then walk.

It didn’t take long for locals to leave their seasonal mark on the barriers.

Wednesday, Dec. 25

Maybe you’ve had your fill of Christmas-themed photos, but here is a present under President Obama’s tree. Check out that Obama-themed gift wrapping.

Thursday, Dec. 26

Obama, meanwhile, worked out yet again at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the morning after Christmas. Maybe, like the rest of us, he felt the need to work off a heavy Christmas meal. Perhaps our health-conscious first lady even suggested it.

The president finally — finally! — did something other than play golf and work out. He took a hike at Manoa Falls Trail, near his childhood home.

This California family was hiking at the same time, and was able to shake hands with the president of the United States of America. I’m guessing they didn’t expect to cross paths with him there.

They also got their 15 minutes of fame when they were interviewed by the Associated Press. Here is their account as it appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Friday, Dec. 27

It was a fairly slow day on a weekend that was sandwiched between two of the year’s bigger holidays. So here is the state flower, the hibiscus, courtesy of KHON’s Olena Heu.

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