Given the lack of snow in the Hawaiian tropics, Christmas in Hawaii is a warmer affair where local children grow up learning that Santa Claus arrives in the islands by way of an outrigger canoe pulled not by reindeer, but dolphins. Likewise, his traditional red and white coat is replaced by a red and white aloha print shirt with big black sunglasses and a Hawaiian “shaka” hand gesture.
Despite the different appearance of Santa, Christmas in Hawaii is still a festive affair where family and friends get together for a day of merriment and celebration. Again, since this is Hawaii, often times this means a gathering down at the local beach park for BBQ’s, paddleboarding, surf lessons with the kids, or simply sitting out with a good book and soaking up the mid-winter sun.
In popular culture, Christmas in Hawaii is often associated with the Mele Kalikimaka Christmas ballad composed back in 1949. A Hawaiian phrase which translates to “Happy Christmas”, the jingle can be heard in all resorts, restaurants, and shopping establishments from Hilo to Hanalei during the festive days around the holiday. Although it’s nice not having to deal with snow and ice (except for perhaps, on the summit of Mauna Kea), Christmas in Hawaii is also a very popular time for visitors, so those choosing to visit the islands during Christmas should plan well ahead to ensure a successful and stress-free holiday.
For those looking to observe the religious side of the holiday, all of the islands have ample amounts of churches which open their doors to visitors. Between the islands’ strong sense of community, the genuine aloha of the local people, and the warm, tropical weather thrown in as a bonus, Christmas in Hawaii is one of the best ways to round out the calendar year and look forward to an exciting year ahead.
Finally, seeing as Christmas also kicks off whale watching season in Hawaii, the holiday is full of exciting opportunities for getting out on the water and experiencing the beauty of Hawaii.