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17 Holiday Events on O‘ahu to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

Parades, craft fairs and appearances by Santa himself? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


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Santa canoe

Welcome Santa Claus as he paddles his canoe to shore in Waikīkī.
Photo: Courtesy of Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort

 

Kaimukī Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Dec. 7

The Kaimukī Christmas parade has been a neighborhood tradition for years (this year marks its 70th) and brings schools, businesses and families together to celebrate the holidays. An anticipated 40-plus groups, including legislators and council reps, beauty queens, motorcycle clubs, neighborhood school marching bands, dogs and (of course) Santa, will begin at St. Louis School and head 1.1 miles up Wai‘alae Avenue for a big, joyful display that’s free—and fun—to watch.

Plus: Want to know about other parades on O‘ahu? Check out HONOLULU Family’s list here.

Free, 6 p.m., along Wai‘alae Avenue from St. Louis School to Koko Head Avenue, kaimukihawaii.com.

 

Kuana’s Winter Wonderland

Dec. 8–10

Kuana Torres Kahele

Photo: Courtesy of Kuana Torres Kahele


​Kuana Torres Kahele hosts his own holiday celebration for three shows at the Hawai‘i Theatre. Lovers of Hawaiian music can enjoy a lineup of special musical and hula guests, including Miss Aloha Hula, Ekolu Trio and Napua Greig, plus the chance to score an extra special gift: a rare, beautiful Ni‘ihau shell lei.

$35–$75, Hawai‘i Theatre, 1130 Bethel St., hawaiitheatre.com.

 

Winter Craft & Collectibles Fair

Dec. 9

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i hosts another craft and collectibles fair just in time for you to find a special one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one. Here, you’ll discover vintage treasures, rare collectibles and antique items unlikely to be found anywhere else. Admission is free and full validated parking is provided with a $10 JCCH gift shop purchase.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, 2454 S. Beretania St., jcch.com.

 

Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade

Dec. 9

Hawaii Kai Festival of Lights

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Kai Towne Center Festival of Lights Boat Parade


Every year, members of the Hawai‘i Kai Marina Community Association deck their boats with ornaments, tinsel, lights and more for the annual Festival of Lights boat parade. Themes are up to participants, and the best displays are awarded monetary prizes. Accompanied by music and live entertainment before and after, the Festival of Lights draws many spectators from around the neighborhood, so it’s best to arrive early.

Tip: You can also see parts of the parade from other locations around the marina, if Hawai‘i Kai Towne Centre is too crowded.

Free, 3 p.m., Hawai‘i Kai Towne Center, 333 Keāhole St., Hawai‘i Kai, hawaiikaitownecenter.com.

 

Santa’s Arrival to Waikīkī by Canoe

Dec. 9

Sleighs may work up north, but Santa Claus is ditching his traditional mode of transportation for his arrival to the Islands. Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort invites everyone to come and welcome St. Nick as he paddles his canoe to shore, throwing shakas all along the way. Upon arrival, enjoy hula dancing, a meet-and-greet and free photos with the man himself. Families will also have another chance to meet Santa at the Outrigger Reef Waikīkī Beach Resort’s breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 16, complete with a breakfast buffet, balloon twisting and body painting.

Santa’s Arrival by Canoe: free, 9 a.m., Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort, 2335 Kalākaua Ave.

Breakfast with Santa: $15–$36 (includes tax and tip), free for children ages 4 and younger, 8 to 10 a.m., The Reef Bar & Market Grill at the Outrigger Reef Waikīkī Resort, 2169 Kālia Road, reefbarandmarketgrill.com. To make reservations, go here.

 

Ugly Christmas Sweater Paw-ty

Dec. 9

Your dog’s ugly Christmas sweater could win you this year’s trophy. Hawai‘i Doggie Bakery’s pet-centric event also includes treats, games and lots of fun for pups and their humans. The judging begins at 1 p.m., and ugly Christmas sweaters, bandanas or other cringe-worthy holiday accessories are mandatory to participate! Not that kind of dog owner? Check out Hawai‘i Doggie Bakery’s other holiday events.

Free, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hawai‘i Doggie Bakery, 2961C E. Mānoa Road, hawaiidoggiebakery.org.

 

Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace and Gingerbread Workshop

Dec. 9 & 10

This two-day, one-stop shopping expo attracts both locals and visitors looking for unique Island products to gift friends and family. Part marketplace, part crafting workshop, Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace offers local food and fashion products, Native Hawaiian art and a make-and-take Ben Franklin Crafts station. For $40, build your own gingerbread house to take home—admission covers two people plus gingerbread house materials and benefits the nonprofit, Kama‘āina Kids.

$3–$4 admission, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, 777 Ward Ave., melekalikimakamarketplace.com.

 

Christmas at the Hukilau Marketplace

Dec. 1–16 (Thursdays through Saturdays) & Dec. 18–23  (Mondays through Saturdays)

Polynesian Cultural Center shares the holiday spirit with an all-new Christmas celebration. Christmas at the Hukilau features selfies with Santa, nightly live entertainment and nativity performances, keiki train rides and three snow days (Dec. 2, 8 and 22, 3 to 7 p.m.), featuring a winter wonderland made with real snow kids can play in. Enjoy special holiday discounts at Polynesian Cultural Center Hukilau Marketplace stores.

Free, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Polynesian Cultural Center, 55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Lā‘ie, polynesia.com.

 

Diamond Head Theatre presents A Charlie Brown Christmas

Dec. 7–23

Charles Schulz’s lovable Peanuts gang is brought to the stage in Diamond Head Theatre’s adaptation of the classic animated TV special. Join Charlie Brown on his quest to discover the true spirit of Christmas—one that doesn’t involve presents, holiday cards or decorations.

$15–$35, Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapu‘u Ave., diamondheadtheatre.com.

 

The Honolulu Chorale Annual Holiday Concert: A Joyful Christmas

Dec. 10

One of the state’s longest-performing community choruses, the Honolulu Chorale represents Hawai‘i’s diverse ethnicities; its members include teens, octogenarians and all ages in between. Under its new music director, Karol Nowicki, the chorus performs beloved holiday carols at its 51st season of A Joyful Christmas.

Free, 3 to 5 p.m., Kawaiaha‘o Church, 957 Punchbowl St., honoluluchorale.org.

 

Season’s Best Craft Fair

Dec. 15–17

Season’s Best offers three days of shopping for locally made craft and food products. More than 250 vendors will offer thousands of gift baskets, fashion, home wares and collectibles. If you’re looking for unique items (vintage-inspired Hawai‘i tees, brightly designed Band-Aids, handmade flower-ribbon wreaths, even pickled veggies), you’ll find lots of them here.

$3, Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, 777 Ward Ave., seasonsbestcraftfair.com.

 

Ballet Hawai‘i Presents The Nutcracker

Dec. 15–17

The Nutcracker

Photo: Courtesy of Ballet Hawai‘i


Ballet Hawai‘i performs Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic with a unique Island twist: Set in the 1858 Kingdom of Hawai‘i, this story blends in elements of Hawaiian history (look out for on-stage appearances by beloved monarch Queen Lili‘uokalani and Washington Place resident Mary Dominis) for a fresh spin on a classic tale.

$39–$120, Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave., ballethawaii.org.

 

The Nutcracker Presented by Hawai‘i State Ballet

Dec. 15–17

The Hawai‘i State Ballet stays true to the roots of this classic production and shines with holiday charm. Featuring an all-local cast joined by students of the Page Academy of Dance, children and adults will appreciate the stunning costumes, lovely sets and challenging choreography executed by the academy’s skilled dancers. Group discounts are available, so bring your family or friends for a night of Christmas magic.

$16–$36, Mamiya Theatre at St. Louis School, 3142 Wai‘alae Ave., hawaiistateballet.com.

 

Santa 5K Fun Run

Dec. 16

Everyone in the family can participate in this untimed 5K run, which takes you on a scenic course through Kapilina Beach Homes in ‘Ewa Beach. Afterward, stick around for some keiki play time in the snow, snap photos with Santa and shop for last-minute gifts at the event’s holiday pop-up market. A portion of ticket sales will go to Iroquois Point Elementary School and the Hawai‘i Word War I Centennial Commemoration.

$20–$45, 8 to 11 a.m., Kapilina Beach Homes Community, 5111 Iroquois Ave., ‘Ewa Beach, myfunruns.com.

 

Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i Jingle Rock Run

Dec. 17

Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i welcomes everyone—walkers, joggers, children and pets—to don their best festive attire and participate in its annual 5K run/walk, which starts at the Hawai‘i State Capitol and takes you past the iconic Honolulu City Lights. (Tip: Bring your camera—since the run is untimed, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and snap a few photos.) Kids ages 12 and younger can also participate in a keiki sprint. All proceeds help Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i fulfill its mission to grant the wishes of Hawai‘i children facing critical illnesses.

$25–$40, 3 to 9 p.m., Hawai‘i State Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., hawaii.wish.org.

 

Under the Banyan Christmas Concert Featuring Robert Cazimero

Dec. 22

Robert Cazimero

Photo: Courtesy of Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa


Singer, songwriter and kumu hula Robert Cazimero brings his gift of music with a special Christmas concert at the Moana Surfrider’s iconic Banyan Courtyard. General admission includes open seating, complimentary self-parking and access to the Beach Bar, while the VIP experience offers reserved table seating with prime views, complimentary valet parking and a prix fixe dinner at the Beachhouse restaurant.

$50–$155, 7 to 9 p.m., The Moana Surfrider Banyan Courtyard, 2255 Kalākaua Ave., moanasurfrider.com.

 

Voices of Aloha Holiday Concert: Sing!

Dec. 29

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the holidays just yet. End the season on a high note with Sing! a free concert by the Voices of Aloha chorus at Kawaiaha‘o Church featuring the contemporary, classical and spiritual holiday tunes you won’t hear again until next year. While admission is free, seating is limited. RSVP here to receive priority seating.

Free, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Kawaiaha‘o Church, 957 Punchbowl St., voicesofaloha.com.

 

SEE ALSO:

 

READ MORE STORIES BY MARISA HEUNG

 

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