Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year. And it’s sure to be even more wonderful if you’re able to spend Christmas in one of the most beautiful places on Earth-- Hawaii.
We’ve put together a guide for a memorable Christmas in Honolulu, where you can eat, drink and be merry to your heart’s content. While we can’t promise snow, pretty much everything else-- from good food to great memories-- will be covered during your holiday in paradise.
Celebrate a Glow Up at the Honolulu Hale Tree Lighting
It’s half a world away from Rockefeller Center, but the Honolulu Hale Tree Lighting has its own special charm. Each year, a tree is donated to the city, festively garlanded and lit, then used as part of the holiday merriment.
While large events that require people to congregate will be discouraged, there will be plenty of opportunities for drive-by viewing of the festive holiday decor.
Pick Your Own Christmas Tree at Helemano Farms
Want to celebrate with a tree in your home? Norfolk pines are a Hawaiian alternative to the more traditional mainland Christmas tree, and they grow in abundance at Helemano Farms.
A visit to the farm’s terraced landscape can be fun for children and adults alike; even pets are welcomed as long as they’re leashed.
Other tree alternatives include artificial trees or even small live potted palms, which can continue to grow long after the holiday season has ended. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to infuse your decorations with some tropical flair.
Sip some festive spirits at The Christmas Bar
This fun holiday pop-up gives you the chance to sample some seasonal libations and some comfort food with a Hawaiian fusion twist.
Located on the third floor of Bloomingdale’s, The Christmas Bar is a great place to snag a flagon of butterbeer. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are available at different times of day, with the adult version featuring vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps, cream soda and marshmallow fluff.
For edible goodness, the Christmasy Coconut Shrimp with housemade “Naughty & Nice” Sauce is a favorite, along with the Kris Kringle’s Kimchee Grilled Cheese.
Enjoy Holidays at the Hukilau Marketplace
The Polynesian Cultural Center invites the community to “share in the Aloha of the holiday season” by being part of Holidays at the Hukilau Marketplace.
Family activities abound, including train rides, scavenger hunts, a live nativity, Santa pictures, live music and more. In addition, the usual marketplace delicacies continue to be available. One great thing about Hawaii in winter: it’s almost never too cold for ice cream, and Sweet as Ice Cream’s New Zealand-style confections are a favorite year-round.
Drive Through Aloha Land
This dazzling Aloha Land light show at Aloha Stadium features more than 1 million sparkling holiday lights. You can drive through and enjoy the lights, purchase dinner, then enjoy the 50-minute light show synchronized to some of your favorite Christmas tunes.
Surf (Or Watch) the Winter Waves
There’s no place like Oahu to enjoy some of the world’s best surfing, or to watch some of the most talented surfers take to their boards.
While this year will be different because of COVID, winter is typically the best time to enjoy watching the world’s top surfers take on the Banzai Pipeline (the world’s most famous wave formation) and keep their audiences in awe of their gravity-defying skills.
Plan a Sumptuous Christmas Feast
You could cook a Christmas dinner yourself, or you could let some of the best chefs on the Islands prepare your festive banquet with a distinct Hawaiian twist.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki, for example, hosts a holiday takeout menu that includes some of their signature Christmas desserts. Past featured favorites include gingersnap bread pudding, blackberry basil panna cotta, and Christmas black forest yule log.
Kahala Resort features a variety of holiday-themed meals for every appetite and dining comfort level, from prime rib-to-go to a Christmas Day Beach House Buffet at Plumeria Beach House to a magnificent tasting menu at Hoku’s.
Fun fact: Hawaii technically has two seasons - summer and winter. The winter season is called Hoolio in the native Hawaiian tongue. With “winter” temperatures still in the balmy 70s, no one would blame you for deciding Hawaii is the best place to be and starting to shop for real estate/plan your move to Honolulu!
For those of us who are lucky enough to live here year-round, the festive season is infused with enough joy, light and holiday traditions to remind us how lucky we are to call Hawaii home. If you’re out looking at holiday decor and find a new home that suits your fancy, you know you should call us to ensure a Mele Kalikimaka and a very merry moving season!