How do people celebrate Christmas in Hawaii? That is a question a lot of people ask. We don’t experience the white Christmases many other places do, but that doesn't make it any less magical or celebrated.
If you come to Hawaii during the holidays, you may see palm trees alongside the road that have been decorated with Christmas lights. People attend church in aloha shirts and mu'umu’u dresses. Instead of having dinner inside with the fire going and stockings hanging above, the people the Hawaii celebrate with luaus and picnics at the beach, wearing leis and Santa hats. Santa Claus doesn't ride with his reindeer and come down the chimney on Christmas Eve. All little boys and girls in Hawaii know that Santa rides in a red canoe pulled by dolphins
Christmas in Hawaii includes many concerts, and parades. Although mostly in Oahu, (such as Honolulu City Lights), great community celebrations can be found throughout all the islands.
Many of the traditional Christmas songs are sung here, but in Hawaiian, such as the Hawaiian version of "The 12 Days of Christmas," and “Silent Night”. There is a list of carols you may not have heard of, such as “Here Comes Santa in a Red Canoe," and “Christmas in Hawaii.” Christmas songs here are accompanied by ukulele or guitar, and sung by bands, choirs, and students. Most schools have some kind of Christmas performance every year with Christmas songs and hula dancing.
During the holidays, there is usually snow on the mountains. People drive up the mountains to fill their trucks with snow and then they come down and make snowmen in their yards. Of course, these snowmen live very short lives, but they’re
still fun to make.
One thing that is unique to the Islands, is the Hawaiian Christmas tree. Although some people order trees from the mainland, many people in Hawaii use the Island Norfolk Pine, one of the few pine trees that grow in the Islands.
There are many Hawaiian Christmas decorations and ornaments, (Santa on surf boards, Santa wearing Aloha shirt on a sled, etc.) The more original and unusual ones, handmade ornaments made of decorated Kukui nuts, for example, can be bought at local markets and festivals. During the Holidays many people decorate their tree’s and homes with Poinsettias, both real, and faux flowers made of silk.
One thing you may not know, is that in Hawaii, poinsettias are not just little potted plants. They grow in peoples yards, sometimes growing as big as trees! Conveniently, they bloom around Christmas time.
If you're planning on visiting Hawaii at Christmas time and are deciding where to stay, check out the many hotels and hostels available, and make sure you plan your trip early! Christmas is a very busy time for Hawaii... lots of people come here to escape the cold weather.
The Hawaiians did not celebrate Christmas until after the missionaries had arrived and introduced them to Christianity. However, the Hawaiians had a different kind of annual celebration at around the same time as Christmas. It was called Makahiki. The Makahiki was a time when they worshipped the earth. During that four month celebration, there were feasts and games, and all war was forbidden.