Waikiki may not be your typical winter wonderland—there’s no snow, sleighs or reindeer. But it’s still very much a festive destination. Hotels light up with towering Christmas trees and grand décor; and there are many traditional holiday activities, as well as some not so traditional. For example, here in paradise, Santa arrives by canoe.
If you happen to be in Waikiki for Christmas, here are some holiday events you won’t want to miss:
November 27, 6-8 p.m.
It’s time to welcome the holiday season! Stop by Royal Hawaiian Center (2201 Kalakaua Ave.) for its holiday kick off and tree lighting ceremony featuring Santa Marty and live music.
December 2, 5:30-5:45 p.m.
Holiday tree lighting ceremony at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort (2259 Kalakaua Ave).
December 3, 5-6 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa (2424 Kalakaua Ave.) has its annual Lighting Ceremony in its Great Hall. The event celebrates the nonprofits that Hyatt works with, most notably Make-A-Wish Hawaii. There usually is entertainment by a local musician, appearances by beauty queens and a check presentation to the foundation. Bubbles blow throughout the hall, and there’s free cookies and hot chocolate. The event is open to the public; seating is limited.
December 13, 9 a.m.
Ho, ho, ho! Santa leaves his sleigh behind and arrives by outrigger canoe on the beach at Outrigger Waikiki (2335 Kalakaua Ave.), where he will be greeted by a group of keiki (children) from Halau ‘O Pua Kahale. Santa then heads to the lobby of Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach for a meet-and-greet and complimentary photo taking. The event is free and open to hotel guests and the public.
December 16 & 17, 8-10 a.m.
Breakfast with Santa at Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef on the Beach (2169 Kalia Road). Share with Santa your wish list, while enjoying a hearty breakfast buffet with eggs, bacon, Portuguese sausage, rice, country-fried potatoes, assorted pastries and tropical fruits. There also will be fun activities for the kids, such as balloon twisting, airbrush face and body art painting, and of course, picture taking and special one-on-one time with Santa. Cost is $27 per person (includes tax, tip and photo with Santa); $13 for children ages 3 to 11; free for children 2 years old and younger. Reservations are required. Call (808) 924-4993.
December 20-25, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Enjoy music by Madrigal singers in the main lobby of The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.
December 21, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Breakfast with Santa at Surf Lanai in The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort.
December 21, 8:30 p.m.
Enjoy special holiday entertainment in Lewers Lounge at Halekulani (2199 Kalia Road). Lewers Lounge is open 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
December 24, 4:30 p.m.
Santa Claus arrives on canoe at the beach off Halekulani.
January 1, 2015
Happy New Year! Celebrate with the Japanese New Year custom of Fukubukuro at Royal Hawaiian Center. A taiko drum ceremony kicks off the event at 9 a.m.
* Another popular Christmas event in Waikiki is the famous Gingerbread Village at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (120 Ka‘iulani Ave.). Created by executive chef Ralf Bauer, the gingerbread village is usually on display in the hotel lobby in December.