Family Travel, United States

Spending Christmas in Hawaii?

December 12, 2015

Although there isn’t snow on the ground or a chill in the air, the Christmas tradition in Hawaii is as abundant as the North Shore’s legendary winter waves.

Spending Christmas in Hawaii Chocolate Santa

During the holiday season, Christmas lights glow on island homes, Christmas trees sparkle in hotel lobbies, and choir songs dance in the tropical breeze.

Protestant missionaries introduced Christmas to Hawaii in the early 1880s. Coincidentally, this new celebration occurred around the same time as Makahiki; a traditional Hawaiian festival focused on reflection, renewal, and respite from war.

Fairmont Orchid tree Spending Christmas in Hawaii

What About Santa?

You might be wondering about Santa. Rest assured that the Hawaiian island chain is on his radar. Just like the rest of us, Santa knows a paradise when he sees it. Keep your eyes peeled for the tell-tale red hat when you are at the beach. Santa often makes a pre-Christmas visit to the islands. You may see him riding the waves on a surfboard or paddling his outrigger canoe.

Spending Christmas in Hawaii outrigger canoe

We love spending Christmas in Hawaii, where sandy beaches replace snow drifts or puddles, and the only thing you need to put on when you go outside is sunscreen. And a bathing suit. Mele Kalikimaka!

Travel Tips for Spending Christmas in Hawaii

  • If you spend Christmas in Hawaii, consider packing a small string of indoor lights to bring a festive sparkle to your hotel room or condo.
  • Christmas decorations are readily available for purchase at local shops and islanders often decorate their vehicles as well as their homes.
  • Some resorts offer Christmas trees or florals for guests to purchase for their hotel rooms. Contact the resort floral department to inquire if this service is available. Another option is buying a pre-light table top Christmas Tree at a local store.
  • Traditional Christmas dinner, often served buffet style, is available at many island restaurants and resorts.

For more fun things to do in Hawaii, read about Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi and the unforgettable Kalahuipua’a Fish Ponds.

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  • Reply Brianna December 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    While any trip to Hawaii will always be great, these tips are great for making a holiday stay that much more festive.

  • Reply Anda December 12, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Your post made me smile because it reminded me of the only time we made the mistake of spending Christmas in Hawaii. Although Hawaiians do their best to make it look Christmasy, the result is terrible. Nothing that concerns this great holiday seems to match into that environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hawaii, but spending Christmas there was not the best idea.

  • Reply Economical Excursionists December 13, 2015 at 2:22 am

    It was REALLY hard the first time I was at tropical location over Christmas. It just didn’t feel right now bundled up, snow on the ground, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I LOOOVE the heat, but the few days over Christmas is the one time I will tolerate cold! With all that being said, I think I could convince myself to make Hawaii work over Christmas 😉 No matter where you and your family are though, here are my tips on making Christmas special and magical no matter where you are

  • Reply Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers December 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I like how some of the resorts make the extra effort to make your room feel more Christmasy. We had one Christmas in Fiji with friends with young children and the staff were great providing craft materials for a paper tree to decorate with shells when the kids got a bit stressed about whether Santa would know they were there and where to leave their presents.

  • Reply Rob December 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Mele Kalikimaka, Hawaii is a great place to celebrate Christmas. I have seen one of Santa’s pre-visits, he was paddling is outrigger near Waikiki.

  • Reply Sue @NoFixedAbodeForSue December 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    We had a family holiday in Maui when our daughters were younger and had a fantastic time. I think we all fell in love with Hawaii on that visit and have returned many times since I was told that this is one of their peak visitor times so while costs can run a little more expensive at the hotels I cannot say it felt crowded at all

  • Reply Carolann - One Modern Couple December 13, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    We’ve yet to spend Christmas abroad (we always seem to end up flying back home for it) but I think Hawaii would be one of our top destinations if we were going to! The idea of bringing a string of lights is great and we’ll definitely remember that! You’ve got us thinking ahead to next year… 😉

  • Reply Stephanie December 14, 2015 at 4:10 am

    I’ve never spent Christmas abroad. Even though I now live in Japan i’m travelling home for Christmas! Hawaii seems like a great place to spend Christmas though, it must be the best feeling to wake up on Christmas morning and head straigh for the beach! I’m surprised you can get Chrstmas dinner too, yum!

  • Reply antonette - we12travel December 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Too bad Hawaii is pretty much on the other side of the world for us. We’re going to visit in the future for sure, but I can never get off work longer than a week during the holidays so we’ll get there some other time. I love dipping my toes into the sand for Xmas though!

  • Reply Jen Joslin December 15, 2015 at 5:07 am

    Christmas in Hawaii would be it’s own kind of magical! It would be so fun to see Santa catching some waves!! Bringing your own twinkly lights to make your hotel room more festive is a great idea!

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