Christmas in Hawaii this year is as festive as ever, and some very well priced, holiday airfares can be found (at last check as low as $300 from US West Coast). Whether your vacation is budget or extravagant, you can create some beautiful holiday memories on Oahu.
Hawaiian Christmas memories are among my favorite remembrances of living in Hawaii. Listening to the children belt out their favorites like "Here Comes Santa in a Red Canoe," and the Hawaiian version of "The 12 Days of Christmas," and hearing "Silent Night" sung in English and Hawaiian by an angelic choir on a balmy evening under the stars with palm trees swaying are experiences not to be missed.Just walking downtown is a delight during the holidays.
And I'll never forget arriving at the Honolulu Airport for the first time during the holiday season and being in awe of the towering tree all decked out with huge, lauhala woven pineapples and golden lights.
Holidays in Hawaii, especially Christmas are widely celebrated. This is a very churched community,but even many of the Buddhist families participate in Christmas traditions, especially the Japanese-Americans who come who have a reputation for loving to give gifts.
If you're visiting the islands for the holidays, you will find a myriad of Christmas events on Oahu, actually on all the islands, but more so on Oahu.
In Hawaii, Santa gives his reindeer a Christmas break and arrives in a canoe, barefoot, tanned and with his red furry pants rolled up. On Oahu, his first stop is, as it is for most of Hawaii's visitors, Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Keiki (children) visit their Hawaiian Santa at various cities on Oahu throughout the season.
While at Christmas time, many of the islanders enjoy watching the visitors in awe of this warm, friendly climate in the dead of winter, they also enjoy imagining what a white Christmas would be like. You'll hear many of the traditional mainland songs, like "Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bells."
Some Hawaiians though do have a white Christmas, that is if they're on the Big Island (island of Hawaii) and drive up above the tree line to the 10,000 foot high snowcapped peaks of Mauna Kea, transforming their boogie boards into sleds and building snowmen! With the current, cheap airfares from between Oahu and Neighbor Islands,a side trip from Oahu to the Big Island is more affordable than its been in a long time.
It's fun swapping tropical and white Christmas stories with locals. For us visitors it's especially fun to write home about how we spent our Christmas day on a beach! Some newcomers to Hawaii will even bring miniature trees down to the beach, although Hawaii has plenty Christmas trees. On Oahu,as on the other islands, trees from the mainland are sold. And, Hawaii has its own Christmas tree: the island Norfolk Pine. The tree doesn't have the spicy pine scent, but its largely spaced branches are wonderfully easy to decorate.
Hawaiian Christmas tree decorations are found everywhere. Craft fairs are great for finding local style ones: coconut frond woven ornaments, kukui nut and tapa cloth angels, Santas on surfboards in canoes and riding dolphins; along with beautiful wreaths made of island flowers and greenery.
Many of these craft fairs are events in themselves, complete with Hawaiian Christmas entertainment and food. You'll find many of these listed along with other holiday Oahu events in newspapers and free magazines at the airport.
Some of my favorite Oahu events at Christmas are the light displays in Honolulu and the music – choirs, orchestras and local style bands are found everywhere with free concerts at malls and on the beach. Adding to the holiday fun, many of Hawaii's most popular musicians like the Brothers Cazimero and Don Ho perform regularly in Waikiki.
The Honolulu City Lights (the city was given permission by Keola and Kapono Beamer to use the name of their all time hit song) is a spectacular display throughout Honolulu, including Waikiki, making Oahu a good pick for a Hawaiian holiday vacation.
The month-long, traditional festivities begin with the Kawaiahao Church Service in Honolulu (This was the first Christian church built in Hawaii and is extraordinary), the lighting of the City's 63-foot Norfolk Pine at Honolulu Hale (City Hall) and an electric parade and concert on December 3; however festivities continue throughout the holiday season.
For example, the Honolulu City Lights Trolley Tours run from December 8 to 30. The $2.50 fare (under age 4 free) benefits the Hawaii Food bank. For details, visit Honolulu Hale If you go, be sure to check out the other Oahu event calendars mentioned above as well as this one's. And check out the holiday airfares at places like Hawaiian Airlines and Hotwire.com.