How to Make the Most Out of a Christmas Vacation in Hawaii

How to Make the Most Out of a Christmas Vacation in Hawaii

How to Make the Most Out of a Christmas Vacation in Hawaii

Posted by Hedi Schreiber on

How to Make the Most Out of a Christmas Vacation in Hawaii

Hawaii might not seem like an obvious Christmas destination, but, when you think about it, it really makes sense. You can get away from the cold while relaxing on warm beaches. And, just like every other place in the world, Hawaii celebrates Christmas big time.

If we have already convinced you to make Hawaii your holiday destination, you will want to make the most of your time there. Here are some tips that will help you have a terrific vacation.

What’s the Weather Like in Hawaii During the Winter?

One of the great things about Hawaii is that it has tropical temperatures year-round, even in December. It cools down a bit during the winter with temperatures typically getting to the upper 70’s and low 80’s during the day. At night, it can even dip as low as a nippy 60 degrees.

Rainfall is also more likely at this time of year, but it is typically no more than 5 inches for the entire month.

What’s Christmas Like in Hawaii?

Hawaii celebrates Christmas with its own flair. You can expect to see Christmas trees decorated with tropical flowers, Santas in Hawaiian shirts and snowmen with surfboards.

Decorations are in abundance everywhere you go including streets, houses, shopping centers and malls. Some malls even host live performances with Hawaiian dancers paying tribute to Christmas.

What Is There to Do During Christmastime in Hawaii?

While you may be happy enough sitting on a Hawaiian beach during Christmas, there are plenty of holiday activities to partake in. Here are a few worth checking out.

Honolulu City Lights

Honolulu City Lights is a nonprofit organization that provides a free month-long December celebration. Festivities include a tree lighting, holiday concerts, an electric light parade, holiday displays, vendor booths and rides and photos with Santa.

Lahaina’s Massive Banyan Tree

Lahaina’s Massive Banyan Tree is one of the largest in the country. It sits in front of the Lahaina courthouse adjacent to Lahaina Harbor and it stands over 60 feet high. During Christmastime it is decked out with holiday lights and it is definitely a sight worth seeing.

Kauai’s Festival of Lights

The Kauai Festival of Lights is an annual event that takes place at Historic County Building Park. The lights are illuminated from 6 PM to 11 PM from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Sights and activities include The Surfin’ Santa, The Mermaid Kingdom, Santa’s Train Village and the Spam Can Tree.

Honolulu Zoo

Christmas is a great time to visit the Honolulu Zoo. Christmas with the Animals is held just before Christmas. This is an event where animals receive gifts like treats and toys. There is also live entertainment, crafts and food to enjoy. This is all included with paid admission.

Dinner Cruise

Imagine spending Christmas time cruising around the waters of Hawaii. Atlantic Cruises offer cruise packages roundtrip from Waikiki. The ship is decked out like a winter wonderland and there may even be a surprise visit from Santa.

Shops at Wailea

The holidays are a great time to get shopping done. Whether you are getting last minute gifts for friends or looking to treat yourself, the Shops at Wailea are a terrific shopping destination. In addition to getting some cool items, you will also enjoy live music, hula performances and special activities.

Christmas Eve Church Service

For many people, it’s just not Christmas without a Midnight Mass church service. The cities of Hawaii have of plenty of church services available. Pick up a local newspaper to find out the best places to worship.


Surfing may not be the most conventional way to spend Christmas, but if you love outdoor adventure, you can’t afford to miss out on the huge surf of Oahu’s North Shore. The swells are especially big in the winter. Schedule your trip so it falls around seasonal events like Peahi Big Wave Championships, Red Bull’s Queen of the Bay and Eddie Aikau Big Wave International.

Go Christmas Tree Shopping

Being that you are on vacation, you may not be in the market for a Christmas tree. Still, Helemano Farms Wahiawa, Oahu is worth checking out. It’s known for its Norfolk pines (also known as ‘Hawaiian Christmas Trees’). These trees stay green for three to four months and disperse less needles than the average pine making it a favorite for local families looking to decorate.  

Go Whale Watching

During the winter, many whales migrate to Hawaii to enjoy the water’s warmer temperatures. This makes it a great destination for whale watching. Makapuu Lookout on Oahu is an ideal location for watching whales or you may also choose to go on a whale watching adventure with a tour group.

Take a Hike

Hawaii’s scenic views and warm temperatures make it an ideal hiking destination. With so many great trails it is hard to choose just one, but the Makapuu Lighthouse is a popular hike for those looking to ring in the new year.

Have a Hawaiian Luau

Instead of having a traditional Christmas feast this holiday, why not celebrate with a luau? A luau is a Hawaiian party feast that features entertainment (usually hulu dancers and Hawaiian performers). It is also imperative to get the food right. This usually includes tropical goodies like poi, kalua pua (pig), poke, lomi salmon, opihi and haupia and, of course, plenty of beer.

See Santa on a Canoe

We are all used to seeing Santa on a sled. But a canoe? Well get ready for a rare treat as Santa makes his way to Oahu shores on an outrigger canoe. Once he makes it safely to shore, he is available for free photos with children in the lobby of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.

Build a Sandman

Hawaii may not have much snow, but it sure has plenty of sand. Instead of building a snowman, head out to the beaches and build a sandman. You can also stroll down to the Sheraton Waikiki to check out their holiday inspired sand sculptures created by the Sandsational Sand Sculpting Company.

If you are looking to get out of town this Christmas, Hawaii is a great destination. With mild temperatures and a ton of activities, the island is a terrific place for holiday cheer. What will you be doing when you visit?  

Read more of A Christmas Blog or Shop Now at Schmidt Christmas Market

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