Christmas in Hawaii vs. Christmas on the Mainland

Leaving the mainland for your first Christmas in Hawaii? You might be surprised at what you’ll find! Christmas is a big deal, but many of its traditions are very different from Christmas on the mainland. The holiday wasn’t officially celebrated in Hawaii until 1820 (instead, they observed a time of peace and festivities called Makahili) so modern Christmas traditions on the islands are a unique blend of Hawaiian, American, Japanese, and Chinese cultural celebrations.

Here are a few key differences you’ll enjoy!

Beautiful Warm Weather

palms and white sand beachesYou can still have a White Christmas this year—but it will be white sand instead of snow. Plus, you’ll trade bare-branched oaks and maples for beautiful leafy green palms. And don’t forget to bring your shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits.

Honolulu City Lights

hawaiian christmas treeHead to Honolulu Hale (City Hall) to stare in awe at the 50-foot Christmas Tree, beautiful wreath exhibits, and giant Christmas displays, as well as to enjoy live entertainment.

Santa Rides a… Canoe?

santa canoeThat’s right, Hawaiian Santa arrives at Waikiki Beach riding an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins. Also, he’s called Kanakaloka and traded in his traditional red suit for more practical summery Hawaiian garb.

Fresh Local Wreaths

fresh local ponsettiasInstead of fresh pine and pinecones, Christmas wreaths are often made of poinsettia, which grows abundantly throughout the island.

You’ll Trade Your Christmas Feast for a Luau

christmas luauInstead of sitting around the table or snuggling by the fireplace, you’ll be headed for the beach with your surfboard. And you won’t be alone; there will be the music of guitars and ukuleles, hula dancers, and plenty of feasting!

Traditional Hawaiian Grub

traditional hawaiian roast pigAs part of your Christmas Luau, you can expect to eat some traditional Hawaiian food. A roast pig is the main course—prepared in a traditional imu (underground oven), served along with sides such as poi, poke (a raw fish appetizer), lomi salmon (fresh tomato and salmon salad), and opihi (freshwater snails), and followed by haupia, a coconut milk based dessert.

Say Mele Kalikimaka!

speak hawaiianInstead of “Merry Christmas”, you’ll be wishing your friends, family, and neighbors a “Mele Kalikimaka”, which is the Hawaiian pronunciation of “Merry Christmas”.

Ready to Immerse Yourself in Hawaiian Culture

Christmas is a truly special time of year on O’ahu… but Hawaii is magnificent all year round! Come explore life on the island, learn more about buying a home here, and start searching homes for sale today. Just contact RE/MAX Honolulu to get started.

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