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Christmas in Hawaii

santaSo you’ve had it with snow and cold weather, and you want to spend Christmas someplace where a bikini might be considered overdressing? Head for Hawaii, of course! Christmas in Hawaii might not feel like Christmas at home, but that’s the whole point. You’ll see familiar Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, to be sure, but you’ll also see plenty of them with a Hawaiian twist. Here are a few of the things you should know about celebrating Christmas in Hawaii.

  • Christmas came to Hawaii with the Europeans (and Christianity), but before that this time of year was still a time for celebration and giving thanks. Even today, local traditions are woven into the Christmas celebration – including the Christmas meal, which consists of the usual turkey and fruitcake as well as sushi, manapua and poke, or even a roasted pig at a luau!
  • To wish islanders a “Merry Christmas” you’ll want to get your tongue around this phrase – “Mele Kalikimaka.” It’s the closest the locals could get in their own language when the first Europeans brought the concept of Christmas to them, and it’s still the way Christmas greetings are given (even though English is the predominant language today).
  • Traditional Christmas trees aren’t native to Hawaii, so they’re brought in each year on refrigerated ships. You can imagine how expensive they are! For those who aren’t willing to pay the high prices, there are always palm trees and other local species around to cover with lights.
  • In Hawaii, snow only falls at the tops of the volcanoes, so Santa’s sleigh and reindeer wouldn’t be very practical transport. Instead, he opts for a red outrigger canoe, and he hops out well-tanned with his plush red pants rolled up so as to keep them dry.
  • Oahu, and in particular Honolulu, is a great place to see holiday lights displayed, and there are special tours which run through the city so you can see all the best lights. Check out December in Hawaii for a listing of holiday events.