December is a wonderful time to visit Hawaii. You’ll find a variety of things to do, tons of local craft fairs and holiday parades, and of course beautiful beaches and temperatures possibly dipping into the 70’s… brrrr! Here’s just a small sampling of events taking place around the islands this December.
Get in the holiday spirit
12/3 – Kauai Festival of Lights – Opening ceremony from 6-6:30pm on the front steps of the Historic County Building on Rice Street featuring the Kauai Chorale and Santa leading a spectacular “Lighting Countdown” followed by the wonderful Lights on Rice parade at 6:30. The Festival of Lights can be viewed through New Year’s. (Kauai)
12/4 – Honolulu City Lights – One of the most popular holiday traditions on Oahu, a holiday parade and the lighting of the city Christmas tree takes place on December 4th this year. City lights festivities (including the popular trolley tours) run throughout the holiday season. (Oahu)
12/4 – Christmas at Kona Village, Dining with the Chefs – This gala at the Kona Village Resort is a benefit for local culinary scholarships and will feature fine dining and entertainment from some of the Big Islands finest chefs, winemakers, and more.
12/4 – Lighting of the Banyan Tree – Lahaina’s famous banyan tree will be lit on December 4th and you may even catch Santa on his way through the islands. (Maui)
12/4 – Happy Holidays, Molokai Style – The Molokai Chamber of Commerce presents a parade and ho’olaule’a with food, prizes, and an appearance by Santa. (Molokai)
12/10 – 12/12 – Brothers Cazimero Christmas – The historic Hawaii Theater in downtown Honolulu will feature this popular local group once again for a Christmas concert. (Oahu)
12/11 – Santa arrives by canoe – the Outrigger Waikiki Beach welcomes Santa every year on his canoe voyage to the islands. This event is open to the public and is very popular, so be sure to stop by if you’ll be in town during this time! (Oahu)
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12/17 – 12/19 – Honolulu Gift Fair – Wrap up your holiday shopping at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall as hundreds of local crafters display their wares at the annual gift fair. Here’s a tip – get free admission when you bring a canned food donation for the Hawaii Food Bank. (Oahu)
12/19 – Waimea Town Christmas – Waimea town hosts its annual Christmas celebration with live music, refreshments, entertainment, and of course a holiday parade. (Kauai)
Everyone loves a parade! For a full listing of Oahu parades, visit the city’s website here. Hawaii families love to go all out with Christmas lights displays, as seen here. A great list of Waikiki events and dining options can be found over at GoVisitHawaii.com. And read more about Christmas in Hawaii.
Other December events
12/12 – Honolulu Marathon – Over 20,000+ runners and walkers take part in the annual Honolulu Marathon each December, popular for its beginner-friendly “we don’t close until the last runner crosses the finish line” approach to the race. The event begins at 5am but it’s not unusual for the last finisher to come in after sunset. Details here. (Oahu)
12/12 – Kokua Kailua Village Stroll – This once a month event turns bustling Alii Drive in Kailua into a pedestrian marketplace. You can also catch a free concert in front of Hulihee Palace at 4pm. (Big Island)
Ongoing through 12/20 – Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – The final two events of the triple crown bring pro surfers from all over the world to the North Shore of Oahu for this annual big wave surfing contest. (Oahu)
12/24 – Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – University of Hawaii fans delight in watching the Warriors against a team from Conference USA at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is at 3pm and the game will be featured on ESPN.
Various dates – Click here for a December 2010 listing of Maui concerts and events at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, including a holiday concert by Na Leo Pilimehana, local boy turned pop superstar Bruno Mars, and even Los Lobos.
Ways to give back
Easter Seals Hawaii presents Gingerbread Family Festivals taking place on Oahu (12/5), Kauai (12/11) and in Hilo (12/12). Families will get all the goodies needed to build their own gingerbread houses and proceeds benefit Easter Seals. Registration forms and details can be found here.
Salvation Army’s Angel Tree project has trees set up at most Hawaii shopping centers and various locations around Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island where you can pick up a gift for a local family in need. Details here.
Lokahi Giving Project has a yearly adopt-a-family program where people can assist local families who could use a hand this holiday season. There are also ways to volunteer your time or to adopt entire groups.
Kanu Hawaii is helping Hawaii go green this holiday. See their tips for an environmentally friendly holiday season and some green events throughout December.
>> Have you made your list and checked it twice? Here’s some helpful Gift Ideas for the Hawaii Lover to get you started.
Shaka Santa photo by cliff1066tm