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December in Hawaii

Christmas Tree Honolulu

The Christmas tree at the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu.

As the rest of the world is stuck indoors while the weather outside is frightful, the Hawaiian Islands offer a luxuriant escape from the shivers of winter. Many people may not know that December is a prime time to travel to Hawaii; however the holidays are popular months to visit the islands. With the tropical flora continuing to grow in the winter, the sparkling beaches, and festive events on every island, Hawaii ranks as one of the most sought-after vacation destinations for families wishing to spend their holidays away from home.

Visiting during the week of Christmas in Hawaii can prove expensive, since most of the prices increase at hotels and rental accommodations towards the end of the month. However, the first two weeks of December tend to be both less expensive and not as crowded as the stretch between Christmas and New Years. Though December is a wet month even in Hawaii, most of the days is primarily sunny and warm, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees. By bringing a light jacket for evening outings, visitors will be sufficiently prepared for when the breezes make things cooler.

Once you are settled in, experience a Hawaiian Christmas where Santa doesn’t ride around in a reindeer sleigh, but instead glides in a red canoe pulled by dolphins! Santa, or Kana Kaloka, may be robed in red board shorts and an Aloha shirt instead of the typical fur-line coat and boots. Families can watch the Hawaiian Santa sail up to Waikiki Beach on Oahu or Ka’anapali Beach on Maui in his red canoe and children can line up and tell him their wish list for Christmas.

There are endless holiday activities for the whole family to do on the Hawaiian Islands. Vacationers staying on Oahu can visit the enormous Christmas tree which stands over 50 feet tall in the Honolulu City Lights display. Kids and parents can enjoy the free milk and cookies night by attending a free Christmas ornament night in mid December. Before the fun is over, be sure to snatch up Christmas tree ornament of Santa surfing the waves to remember your holiday in Honolulu.

Guests can book a night out at the theater for a world-class holiday theme performances at the historic Hawaii Theatre Center, in Honolulu. Throughout the month of December, visitors can enjoy an evening of music and dance, whether through Christmas performances like Hawaii Kalikimaka where many celebrated Hawaiian performers will entertain. In mid December, the Oahu Choral Society and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will give performance of Handel’s Messiah and other classic Christmas favorites.

Watch the roads get decked in boughs of holly on one of the many holiday parades that occur in Oahu during the month of December. The first week of December has the Kaimuki Christmas Parade, the Wahiawa Town Christmas Parade and the Kaneohe Christmas Parade which is said to have up to 20 floats, 5 bands and over 1,800 marchers! The Pearl City Shopping Center Parade and the Honolulu City Lights Parade are both popular events to attend, which each occurring within the first week of December.

Along with all the festivals and parades, there are plenty of crafts for all to enjoy. Make your own holiday ornaments with the Island Glassworks in Kailua, where guests will learn skill of glassblowing! After you have had a chance to study the art, you can return home with a new Christmas decoration for your tree.

Another exciting outing is to take your family and friends to the Big Island‘s Waikoloa Hilton in South Kohala where there is an enchanting display of Christmas decorations, including a Christmas train!  There is also the Na Lima Hana Holiday Craft Fair in Waikoloa Village, the Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade and Holualoa Music & Light Festival. Parades can be found all across the island, from Kailua-Kona to Hilo.

On Maui there are multiple free shows performed throughout the month at the Whaler’s Village where guests can witness the tangle of innumerable Christmas lights that adorn Lahaina’s famous banyan tree. Groups can go skating at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, which has an ice rink where visitors can glide right next to the ocean. Family-friendly activities are also held at the Maui Ocean Center, where “Scuba Claus” celebrates “Fish-mas” with underwater presentations at the aquarium.

There is a Christmas Crafts Fair at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on the Garden Isle of Kauai as well as the Christmas Parade and Festival of Lights in Lihue. There are Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in both Kilauea and Waimea, a Kauai Christmas Hula Concert and an Annual Breakfast with Santa where kids and parents can dine with St. Nick and learn all about the spirit of Christmas.

For other fun adventures in Hawaii, have a snowman building competition and see who can make the best snowman out of sand! If you have a craving for real snow, go to the Big Island where you can often find fresh snow on Mauna Kea. Have a family night in building Hawaiian huts out of gingerbread and listen to Hawaiian-style Christmas carols. ‘Tis the season to travel to Hawaii; so Merry Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, one and all!


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