What’s the Christmas holiday season like in Hawaii? How is it different?

Shaka Santa and Mele Tutu by the Christmas tree in front of Honolulu Hale presented as part of Honolulu City Lights

The holiday season is a special time to be in Hawaii. Of course, the weather and ocean is warm enough for swimming. Tropical flowers are in bloom. On top of that that normal Hawaii awesomeness, you’ll find unique Christmas decorations and seasonal entertainment. So, it’s like all the best parts of a Hawaii vacation, but with extra things to do and see for the holiday season.

What’s the typical Hawaii weather like around the holidays?

Even though December is a winter month for the Northern Hemisphere, where Hawaii is, the weather can still be described as summery. Daytime high temperatures tend to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly 27 degrees Celsius. Nighttime temperatures might dip into the upper 60s Fahrenheit or 20-ish degrees in Celsius. (Learn more about Hawaii weather temperatures and patterns.)

A typical December day at Waikiki Beach

What are Christmas decorations like in Hawaii?

Oh my, Christmas decorations are spectacular in Hawaii. Hawaii hotels and towns are adorned with cheerful lights and Christmas trees, but decorated with a Hawaii-twist. Here are some examples:

  • Rather than the typical red, silver and gold decorations, you’ll likely to see more colors inspired by tropical flowers and fish.
  • You’ll likely see Christmas trees with ornaments featuring ukuleles, tropical flowers, fish, turtles, seashells and surfboards.
  •  You’ll usually see Santa Claus wearing his “aloha’ shirt (also known as a “Hawaiian” shirt) with shorts and flip flops.
  • Instead of a snowman, you’re more likely to see a sandman.

It’s all so delightful to see these unique Christmas decorations!

A Christmas tree decorated with tropical flowers.

Of course, Christmas lights are popular in Hawaii, too. You’ll likely see some palm trees wrapped in lights.

Perhaps one of Hawaii’s most special places to see Christmas lights and decorations is in downtown Honolulu at the City Lights with their 50-plus-foot Christmas tree covered in lights, large outdoor displays and unique trees decorated by the community inside the Honolulu Hale.

What types of Christmas trees are used in Hawaii?

As there very few Christmas tree farms in Hawaii, the vast majority of real trees are imported to the islands — mostly Douglas Fir and Noble Fir from the Pacific Northwest. Christmas trees that typically grow in Hawaii are Norfolk and Cypress pines. (Source) We’ve seen Cook Pines used for Christmas trees in Hawaii, too.

A 50-ft Norfolk Pine at Honolulu Hale in 2014

Is Christmas music different in Hawaii?

You’ll hear carols and traditional Christmas songs playing in hotel lobbies, restaurants and shops, but they’ll likely have a Hawaii spin on them. For examples, you’ll hear these familiar songs accompanied by the soothing sounds of slack key guitars and the cheerful tunes of ukuleles.

Of course, one of the most famous Christmas songs of Hawaii is Mele Kalikimaka. There’s no better place to hear it than in Hawaii!

When you get to enjoy live entertainment, it’s fairly common to see hula performances, too.

Are restaurants open for Christmas in Hawaii?

In all the hotels and resort areas, restaurants are open for Christmas. Not only are they open, they normally prepare bountiful buffets or fancy, multiple-course dinners to celebrate Christmas. You’ll often find local seafood on the menus.

Is Christmas in Hawaii a good time for a romantic vacation or a family vacation?

The answer yes to both! Romantics and families will both marvel at festive lights in hotels, towns and neighborhoods. Families can find breakfasts with Santa, while romantics will find decadent dinners with nearby ocean views and flickering tiki torches.

What are some other aspects that make Hawaii special for the Christmas holiday?

  • You’ll see and hear Mele Kalikimaka more often than Merry Christmas.
  • Instead of nutcracker ballets, you are more likely to see hula performances.
  • You’ll seen poinsettia plants both indoors and outside, too.

The post What’s the Christmas holiday season like in Hawaii? How is it different? appeared first on Go Visit Hawaii.