Unless you’re headed to the summit of Mauna Kea, Christmas in Hawaii is not a white one. Santa sheds his red suit in favor of flip-flops and a loud Christmas-colored Hawaiian shirt.
While there may be a lack of wintry cold in a Hawaiian Christmas, there is no lack of holiday spirit and fun.
Here are our picks for kid-friendly Hawaii Christmas events that have everyone in the Aloha State exclaiming, “Mele Kalikimaka”! That’s Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, folks! Updated for 2023!
Christmas in Hawaii 2023
Hawaii Christmas Events on the Big Island
There will be no shortage of music and lights at Hawaii Christmas events on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The annual Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade is a colorful spectacle as it travels along the town’s main drag of Ali’l Drive. Be sure to stay for the fireworks! This year’s parade kicks off at 5 PM on December 9, 2023.
Do you need to finish up some Christmas shopping? Head to Kailua Village on December 10, 2023, for a holiday stroll from 1-6 PM. Nearly 100 vendor booths showcasing the work of local artisans and crafters, musicians, and merchants offer a fantastic shopping experience and delicious dining options.
Unfold a beach chair or mat for a free holiday concert under the monkey pod tree at Emma’s Square. Five-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Nāpua Greig will take the stage from 4 to 5 PM.
Kalikimaka Lighted Boat Parade is one of Kona’s newer traditions. Decorated and lighted boats travel a short little loop along the Kona pier and down the coast! Great viewing spots for this spectacular Hawaii Christmas event can be found at the Kailua Pier, on the Body Glove boat, or in the village’s many restaurants. This year’s parade is set for December 10, 2023, at 6 PM.
Just because you’re traveling during Christmas time does not mean your family has to miss out on classic traditions like the Nutcracker or Christmas Eve services.
The West Hawaii Dance Theatre & Academy will perform the Nutcracker at the Kahilu Theatre. This year’s performance is on December 23, 2023, at 2 and 6 PM.
Don’t miss Christmas Eve services at Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaii’s first Christian church. It features hula stories, songs, instrumental solos, and candle lighting. The celebration begins at 7 PM. Christmas carols start at 6 PM in the church courtyard under the historic spire.
Did your favorite activity make our list of the best things to do on the Big Island with kids?
Hawaii Christmas Events on Oahu
On the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Christmas events include an array of colorful parades like the Festival of Lights Boat Parade at the Hawaii Kai Marina.
The event will occur on Saturday, December 16, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The parade will start at the three shopping centers and travel throughout the marina.
The biggest Hawaii Christmas celebration on the island is Honolulu City Lights. The month-long festivities kick off with the lighting of the 50-foot Norfolk Pine Christmas tree on the front lawn of Honolulu Hale, triggering the “corridor of lights” down King and Punchbowl streets.
The Honolulu City Lights tree lighting ceremony and Electric Light Parade are set for December 2, 2023, at 6 p.m. The event will run nightly through December 31, 2023.
Santa usually arrives at the Outrigger Waikiki via an outrigger canoe on the second Saturday of December. He has greeted resort guests on Waikiki Beach in front of the resort. The resort has not yet confirmed its plans for Christmas 2023. We’ll update you when they do.
Throughout the month, Outrigger guests have enjoyed Hawaii Christmas events that include a Keiki Ukulele show, Hawaiian storytelling, and hula lessons, as well as traditional ornament making, eggnog, and Christmas cookies. The resort has not yet confirmed its plans for Christmas 2023. We’ll update you when they do.
At the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore, experience the annual Christmas at the Hukilau Marketplace. Note: Holiday plans for 2023 have not been announced. Please check back for updates!
There are Keiki Train Rides, light displays, musical performances, selfies with Santa, and even snow days! Best of all, it’s all free! As soon as this year’s plans are announced, we’ll share them!
Holiday Hint: In this part of the world, Santa hopes you leave him Malasadas, not cookies. A Portuguese doughnut without a hole, a malasada is golden brown outside and light and fluffy inside.
They are filled with the gooey goodness of custard, chocolate, or coconut and dusted with sugar. They are so amazing that there is a designated Malasada Day to celebrate them. Stop by Leonard’s Bakery to get acquainted with this local favorite.
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Christmas Events on Maui
Christmas will look a bit different on Maui this year after a tragic wildfire devastated the historic town of Lahaina over the summer. The town’s famous Banyan Tree, which is at the center of one of the island’s most anticipated holiday events, is in the beginning stages of what will surely be a long road to healing. While all of West Maui is now open, Lahaina will likely remain closed to the public for at least a year.
If you’d like to make volunteerism a part of your holiday season, the area could still use generous helping hands. There are numerous volunteer opportunities to choose from.
At Maui’s Grand Wailea, Santa arrives on Christmas Eve via a Hawaiian voyaging canoe to a beach full of cheering guests. The resort kicks off “Tis the Season of Aloha,” with a month of activities and programs, many of them benefiting local charities.
Guests might find carolers strolling the lobby singing traditional and Hawaiian holiday songs. Starting December 18, kids will enjoy various fun activities daily, including sand art, ornament decorating, special spa salt blends, and more! Special ukulele and hula performances are also part of the holiday season.
At the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, families can celebrate Christmas Eve “Hawaiian style” at the resort’s oceanfront, Maui Nui Lu’au.
The entire family will delight in the remarkable stories, history, and culture of the Valley Isle and Kaanapali luaus. Note: The Sheraton has not yet announced plans for the 2023 holiday season. Please check back soon for updates!
See what made our list of the top things to do in Maui with kids.
Christmas in Hawaii on Kauai
If you find yourself on Hawaii’s Garden Isle during the holidays, the Festival of Lights is a Hawaii Christmas event not to be missed! For more than two decades, Josie Chansky, known to many locals as “Aunt Josie,” has filled the building in Historic Country Building Park with unique holiday-themed decorations.
How unique, you ask? Have you ever seen a tree made of 7500 green toothpicks or wreaths made of plastic egg cartons? What about one made of SPAM cans? Referring to the old adage, many fantastic displays here became another man’s treasure after being another man’s trash.
From the 1st Friday in December through the New Year, the Lights in the Historic County Building Park glow from 6-11 PM nightly starting November 28, 2023, to January 1, 2024. The Festival of Lights “Kauai-style” interior display is open to visitors every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. through Christmas Eve. Santa and Mrs. Claus will see visitors on the Historic County Building Porch on Fridays from 6-8 PM.
The Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade is a great way to kick off an island holiday break. This year’s parade is set for December 16, 2023, from 6:15 p.m. – 9 PM. It travels down Main Street and ends at Hofgaard Park with a holiday concert featuring Kaua’i Kollab in the town center! Both the parade and concert are FREE.
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Christmas in Lana’i
Many think of Lana’i as the Hawaii of yesterday: unspoiled, unhurried, and unequaled. And that’s what visitors will find whether staying at the tranquil and lovely Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i at Manele Bay or at the upcountry escape of Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i, The Lodge at Koele.
Daily sports, spa, cultural activities, and fantastic evening events will make the holiday on Lāna’i one to remember. With kite flying, Kids Yoga, Junior Golf, Keiki Spa Party, and hula, the kids will never be bored.
Other options this time of year include cookie decorating and ornament making. If you’re visiting the island from a snowbound region, imagine making your friends and relatives jealous when you tell them that your Christmas included a Dive in Movie! (That’s a movie you watch while in the pool!)
Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.
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