How to Make Your Hawaii Holiday Unforgettable

So you’ve decided to bid the frigid weather goodbye and spend your winter in beautiful Hawaii instead. Great choice! There’s a good reason tourism in the islands booms in late November and December; the weather here is perfect while everywhere else it’s pretty much lousy. It’s an opportune time to take your ice in a ma tai instead, with your feet in the sand rather than the snow. It’s hard to imagine as your packing your Ray Ban’s and swimming gear that you’ll be missing out on anything spending the holidays in paradise, but truthfully a lot of mainlanders who vacation here during the holiday season admit that it doesn’t feel very “Christmassy” with all the sun and sand. The lack of seasonal changes doesn’t stop locals from celebrating and it shouldn’t stop you either! Here are some ideas for how to celebrate the season with a bit of Hawaiian flair. Get festive! Did you know that some hotels allow you rent a mini Christmas tree for your room for a small fee? If at home you’d be decking the halls there’s no reason why you can’t make your vacation digs just as festive. You can even learn how to craft your own ornament out of Hawaiian shells and tea leaves! Check out some of our craft fairs or luaus, you might also find some unique holiday gifts to bring back to your loved ones. Join in on the fun! There are several Christmas themed events around the islands including parades, sand sculptures, light shows and places to meet the big man himself – Hawaiian Santa Claus – and take your picture aboard his outrigger canoe. Here are just some of the many places that offer special holiday events: Sheraton Waikiki

  • Elaborate Christmas decor and sand sculptures
  • December 2015
Halekulani Hotel
  1. Santa arrives via canoe at 4:30pm
  2. December 24, 2015
Kawaiaha’o Church
  • Live nativity scene on display
  • December 18-23
Honolulu City Christmas Lights Trolley
  • Trolley tour of downtown Honolulu’s best city lights
  • December 2015
The Nutcracker Show at Mamiya Theater
  • Performed by the Hawaii State Ballet
  • December 18 – 20
Santa’s Beach House at Ward Entertainment Center
  • Pictures with Santa
  • November 21 – December 24, 2015
Bishop Museum
  • Holiday Laser Show, seasonal art and music
  • November 27 – January 3, 2016
Polynesian Cultural Center
  • 12 days of Christmas – live music and shows, pictures with Santa
  • December 10-23
Complete your gift list! Finish your holiday shopping by picking up some made-in-Hawaii special holiday treats. Some of the islands’ most popular gift companies, including Royal Kona Coffee, Honolulu Cookie Company and Hawai’i Island Gourmet offer special editions of their products which are only available during the holidays. Enjoy a Christmas feast! Speaking of ono holiday treats, being away from home is no reason not to enjoy an authentic holiday dinner, made better with a little Hawaiian flair! Check out Open Table’s list of restaurants offering Christmas dinner, and make your reservation now: Give Back! It’s the season for giving and there’s no better way to do that than by helping someone else. Volunteer some time to make Christmas cards for active duty service men and women through the Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program, or donate toys and books to needy children through Toys for Tots. Just because you’re spending your holidays away from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite holiday festivities. Experiencing these things Hawaiian style is the best way to make the islands a home away from home, and who knows, visiting might become your new favorite tradition! So save room in your suitcase for that picture of you and Santa flashing a shaka on the beach and try not to rub it in too bad when you show up back to work with a golden suntan.