Family Friendly Christmas and Holiday Events in Hawai‘i for 2021

Where to go to see Christmas lights, make crafts, meet Santa and find other festive fun in our list of more than 20 events on O‘ahu.

 

Anyone ready to celebrate? It is the holiday season and we are all excited to spend a little more time with family and friends. Here is our list of events and activities to get your family in the spirit of things. We will be updating this list throughout December, so make sure to return to look for even more fun.

 

If you are planning an event, let us know! Email us at info@honolulufamily.com or submit the details to our calendar.

 

Ongoing

 

2020 Photo: Laura Dornbush

 

Show Aloha Land at Aloha Stadium

Daily, Friday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 1. Time slots are available every half hour from 6:30–11 p.m. for cars, 6:30–9:30 p.m. for trolleys.

Drive through more than a million LED lights set to holiday songs at this glowing display to benefit the Show Aloha Challenge. This year, not only is the experience bigger, you can also buy a seat on a trolley (so the one who usually drives the car can enjoy the show) or bring 29 of your friends for a private trolley ride.  At the end, pick up meals from Show Aloha Land vendors and park to eat in front of a 50-foot tree which will be lit up for the night. Do not try to arrive early. Cars that get there before the allotted time slot will have to drive out and return later.

 

$55 per car, $20 a person for single trolley seats. Private trolley rides are for 30 people, $18 per person. Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd., showalohachallenge.com, @showalohachallenge

 


See Also: 🎄We Tried It: Show Aloha Land at Aloha Stadium


 

Pearlridge Express Courtesy Pearlridge Center 1200

Photo: Courtesy of Pearlridge Center

 

Pearlridge Express Holiday Train at Pearlridge Center

Daily Saturday, Nov. 20 through Monday, Jan. 10, 2022; 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday. Hours will expand after Sunday, Dec. 5.

The miniature train, which was custom-built for the Pearlridge Center, has been giving keiki rides on its track through Mauka Center Court for years through the oversize toys and festive landscape. Riders must be under 4 feet, hand sanitizer will be provided and masks will be required.

 

$5 per ride. 10-ride coupon books are $39. 98-1005 Moanalua Road, ‘Aiea, pearlridgeonline.com

 


 

Light the World Giving Machine

Friday, Nov. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 2, available during mall hours

Donate to nonprofits here or around the world through a new vending machine set up at Pearlridge Center. The big red machine, set up outside Jeans Warehouse Kids holds cards which represent a variety of items for global nonprofits and local groups Aloha Medical Mission, Family Promise of Hawai‘i, Helping Hands Hawai‘i and The Salvation Army. Latter-Day Saints Charities covers the cost of the vending machine operation so 100% of your donation goes to the other nonprofits.

 

98-1005 Moanalua Road, ‘Aiea, Mauka, first level near Jeans Warehouse Kids near the Ross and TJ Maxx wing, pearlridgeonline.com

 

Archive Photo: Karen DB Photography

 

Christmas Tree Sales at Helemano Farms

Norfolk pines available starting Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21. Opens five days a week starting Friday, Nov. 26–Thursday, Dec. 23; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from noon until dark; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. until dark.

It’s a true sign of the season in Hawai‘i when this family farm in Wahiawā opens for Christmas tree sales. Take the kids for a day in the country to wander through the fields and pick your own homegrown Norfolk pine or cypress. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash. Read our guide to the farm to find out about the types of trees available, which ones sell out first and what to expect if you visit.

 

Prices range from $50 for a 4-foot Norfolk pine up to $270 for a 12-foot cypress. 1750 Whitmore Ave., Wahiawā, (808) 622-4287, helemanofarms.com

 


 

Elf Education Station at Windward Mall

Friday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Dec. 19. Then Wednesday, Dec. 22–Friday, Dec. 24.  11 a.m.–6:30 p.m. except for Sunday, Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 when the station closes at 5 p.m. Elves take a break from 2:30–3:30 p.m.

The elves are coming with activities for the keiki. Details are still being worked out, but the description from the team at Storybook Entertainment Hawai‘i notes that kids will learn about some of the elves most important jobs, including decorating Christmas cookies. Kids will take home goodie bags.

 

Price TBD. Windward Mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway, Kāne‘ohe, (808) 235-1143, storybookstationhawaii.com, @storybookhawaii

 

Archive Photo: Courtesy of Habilitat

 

Habilitat Christmas Tree Fundraiser

Open daily starting Saturday, Nov. 27, noon to 9 p.m. 

Pre-order and pick up or go in-person to select your favorite tree at this annual fundraiser for Habilitat’s programs for people overcoming substance abuse and homelessness. Habilitat brings in Douglas, Noble, grand and Nordmann fir trees from Oregon ranging from 2 to 10 feet tall.

 

Sites are at Central Union Church, Stadium Mall, by the old Kmart in Kapolei, Kāne‘ohe Bay Shopping Center and Koko Marina Center, habilitat.com

 


 

Elf: The Musical at Diamond Head Theatre

Friday, Dec. 3 through Thursday, Dec. 23. Shows are Friday, 7:30 p.m.; some Saturdays, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 20 through Thursday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Buddy always seemed different from the rest of the elves at the North Pole. Turns out, he is human and hitched a ride from his home in New York City in Santa’s bag. This musical version of the classic film is almost sold out.

 

$15–$50. 520 Makapu‘u Ave., (808) 733-0274, diamondheadtheatre.com, @diamondheadtheatre

 

Honolulu City Lights 2007 Photo David Croxford

Photo: David Croxford

 

Honolulu City Lights

Saturday, Dec. 4 through Sunday Jan. 2, 2022

Honolulu Hale is open again for visitors this year. View the Christmas trees decked out in fun themes by City and County of Honolulu departments. Then walk outside to see the 55-foot-tall tree, Shaka Santa and Tūtū Mele, the snowman family, take photos at the selfie spots and the rest of the glowing spots. The city hopes to bring back keiki rides, photos with Santa, the wreath contest and, of course, the parade in 2022.

 

530 S. King St. Parking is available in the municipal lot at Alapai and Beretania streets. honolulu.gov

 

Photo: Courtesy of Waikīkī Trolley

 

Holiday Lights Trolley Tour

Sunday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 26, tours depart at 6, 7 and 8 p.m.

The 45-minute ride will take families through Downtown Honolulu and Waikīkī to see Shaka Santa, the moving lights by the Board of Water Supply and all the buildings in their holiday best. This year, you can hop off at Honolulu Hale then hop back on later to ride back to the trolley stop next to Victoria Ward Park. Reservations are required and often fill up quickly. The trolleys will run on Christmas Day.

 

$20 for adults, $15 for kids 3 to 11 years old, kids 2 years and younger are free but must sit on an adult’s lap. (808) 591-2561, holidaylightshi.com

 


 

Other Events

 

Tuesday Nov. 30

UV/LED Holiday Resin Charms Workshop at Ben Franklin Mapunapuna

3–5 p.m.

Kids 12 years and older will learn how to mix, pour and layer resin to make a festive  UV/LED resin charm. We spotted a gingerbread house, snow globe, gingerbread person and snowflake among the options.

 

$30. 2810 Pa‘a St., (808) 833-3800, benfranklinhawaii.com, @bfcrafts

 


 

Wednesday, Dec. 1

All Out Photos with Santa at Ka Makana Ali‘i

6–8 p.m.

Every Wednesday in December, Santa will have a special theme for families coming for photos. The first will be a pajama party.

 

Free with purchase of a photo package, which starts at $33. 91-5431 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, (808) 628-4800, kamakanaalii.com, @kamakanaalii

 


 

Friday, Dec. 3

Keiki Kalikimaka in Kailua Town

11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Hunt for three elves in six holiday displays at Alexander & Baldwin shopping centers to earn treats for the kids. You’ll find maps and hints near the fountain near CPK, the lobby of Lau Hala Shops, Kailua Beach Center, Kailua Shopping Center and outside Splash and Whole Foods Market.

 

Free. Multiple locations, kailuatowhhi.com, @kailuatownhi

 


 

Saturday, Dec. 4

Christmas Event at Mililani Shopping Center

9 a.m.–noon

Bring a canned good to donate to the Hawai‘i Food Bank, a new unwrapped toy or book for Toys for Tots, listen to live music and take a photo with Santa Claus.

 

Free. 95-390 Kuahelani Ave., Mililani, mililanishoppingcenter.com

 


 

Winter Art Workshop at the Hawai‘i Children’s Discovery Center

10 a.m.–noon, the 1–3 p.m. workshop is wait list only

Kids will mix snowy dough, make a snowflake ornament, create a winter scene and then have an hour to play in the center’s galleries.

 

$15 for nonmembers, $10 for members. 111 ‘Ohe St., (808) 524-5437, discoverycenterhawaii.org, @hawaiichildrensdiscoverycenter

 


 

Keiki Kalikimaka in Kailua Town

11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Hunt for three elves in six holiday displays at Alexander & Baldwin shopping centers to earn treats for the kids. You’ll find maps and hints near the fountain near CPK, the lobby of Lau Hala Shops, Kailua Beach Center, Kailua Shopping Center and outside Splash and Whole Foods Market.

 

Free. Multiple locations, kailuatowhhi.com, @kailuatownhi

 

Honolulu City Lights Tree 2007 Photo David Croxford

Photo: David Croxford

 

Honolulu City Lights Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

6:30 p.m.

Families will be able to walk into Honolulu Hale this year, but the tree lighting ceremony will still be virtual. You can watch the festivities and leaders illuminate the Christmas tree on TV live on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53. The ceremony will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

 


 

Sunday, Dec. 5

Keiki Kalikimaka in Kailua Town

11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Hunt for three elves in six holiday displays at Alexander & Baldwin shopping centers to earn treats for the kids. You’ll find maps and hints near the fountain near CPK, the lobby of Lau Hala Shops, Kailua Beach Center, Kailua Shopping Center and outside Splash and Whole Foods Market.

 

Free. Multiple locations, kailuatowhhi.com, @kailuatownhi

 


 

Candy Cane Lane Drive-Thru at Koko Marina Center

2—4 p.m.

Drive by to greet Santa and pick up a goodie bag from the center’s shops. Cars will enter from Kalaniana‘ole Highway near the Texaco Station and exit near First Hawaiian Bank.

 

Free. 7192 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, (808) 295-7197, kokomarinacenter.com

 


 

Wednesday, Dec. 8

All Out Photos with Santa at Ka Makana Ali‘i

6–8 p.m.

Every Wednesday in December, Santa will have a special theme for families coming for photos. The second will be a prince, princess and superhero theme.

 

Free with purchase of a photo package, which starts at $33. 91-5431 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, (808) 628-4800, kamakanaalii.com, @kamakanaalii

 


 

Saturday, Dec. 11

 

 

Brunch with Santa at Keiki & the Pineapple

9 a.m.

Have brunch outside as your little ones write their letters to Santa. He will be stopping by to chat and to take photos. Each table can comfortably fit five or six, depending on the number of kids and adults. You can also pre-order from the menu so your unicorn toast or brulee Brie and guava jelly toast arrives at your table when you arrive.

 

$25 per table, food not included. 909 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Suite B, (808) 369-7025, keikiandthepineapple.com, @keikiandthepineapple

 


 

Santa’s Secret Workshop at the Hawai‘i Children’s Discovery Center-Wait List Only

10 a.m.–noon and 1–3 p.m.

Spend an hour making crafts and having holiday fun before an hour of playtime at the center. Space is limited and payments must be made within five days after confirmation to reserve your spot. The morning sessions are already sold out.

 

$35 for one adult and one child, $25 for members, $10 for each additional adult. 111 ‘Ohe St., (808) 524-5437, discoverycenterhawaii.org, @hawaiichildrensdiscoverycenter

 


 

Sunday, Dec. 12

Brunch with Santa at Keiki & the Pineapple

9 a.m.

Have brunch outside as your little ones write their letters to Santa. He will be stopping by to chat and to take photos. Each table can comfortably fit five or six, depending on the number of kids and adults. You can also pre-order from the menu so your unicorn toast or brulee Brie and guava jelly toast arrives at your table when you arrive.

 

$25 per table, food not included. 909 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Suite B, (808) 369-7025, keikiandthepineapple.com, @keikiandthepineapple

 

Jingle Rock Ride Photo Make A Wish Hawaii

Photo: Courtesy of Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi

 

Jingle Rock Ride

Time slots available between 5:30–9 p.m. for map and item pickup.

Don your reindeer antlers, cue up a Christmas music playlist and pack holiday snacks for this festive fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i. This socially distant version of the popular Jingle Rock Run invites families to register their cars to receive a map to some of the most festive and outrageously decorated neighborhoods on O‘ahu. Register by Nov. 30 to have your map, car magnet and other items mailed. Otherwise, you will need to pick them up the day of the event where you’ll also find a photo op and other fun.

 

$50. Packet pick-up will be at Cutter Chevrolet, 711 Ala Moana Blvd., wish.org

 


 

Wednesday, Dec. 15

All Out Photos with Santa at Ka Makana Ali‘i

6–8 p.m.

Every Wednesday in December, Santa will have a special theme for families coming for photos. This third week will feature ugly sweater night.

 

Free with purchase of a photo package, which starts at $33. 91-5431 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, (808) 628-4800, kamakanaalii.com, @kamakanaalii

 


 

Thursday, Dec. 16

Photo: Courtesy of the Battleship Missouri

 

Zoom for a Cause with Santa Claus at the Battleship Missouri

Time slots are available from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Visit virtually with Santa Claus from the deck of the Battleship Missouri. Two packages are available: one is a personal 10-minute e-visit with Santa, the other includes a recording of the moment for an additional $10.

 

$20 to $30, $5 for each additional child. $5 for a link so people in other places can join. Kids 1 year and younger are free. eventbrite.com

 


 

Friday, Dec. 17

Zoom for a Cause with Santa Claus at the Battleship Missouri

Time slots are available from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Visit virtually with Santa Claus from the deck of the Battleship Missouri. Two packages are available: one is a personal 10-minute e-visit with Santa, the other includes a recording of the moment for an additional $10.

 

$20 to $30, $5 for each additional child. $5 for a link so people in other places can join. Kids 1 year and younger are free. eventbrite.com

 


 

 

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“Mākaha Kalikimaka” with The Mākaha Sons

7:30 p.m.

The holiday concert features one of our favorite local groups with appearances by Robi Kahakalau, ‘Iolani and Natalie Ai Kamau‘u, Maria Raquel Higa and more.

 

$35–$50. 1130 Bethel St., (808) 791-1397, hawaiitheatre.com

 


 

Saturday, Dec. 18

Photo: Courtesy of the Battleship Missouri

 

Zoom for a Cause with Santa Claus at the Battleship Missouri

Time slots are available from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Visit virtually with Santa Claus from the deck of the Battleship Missouri. Two packages are available: one is a personal 10-minute e-visit with Santa, the other includes a recording of the moment for an additional $10.

 

$20 to $30, $5 for each additional child. $5 for a link so people in other places can join. Kids 1 year and younger are free. eventbrite.com

 


 

Holiday KidX Celebration at Pearlridge

10–11:30 a.m.

Do arts and crafts, sit for story time with Santa and do other holiday activities. Kids 17 years and younger who want to participate must be members of the center’s free KidX Club. You can register onsite.

 

Free. 98-1005 Moanalua Road, ‘Aiea, pearlridgeonline.com, @pearlridge

 


 

“Mākaha Kalikimaka” with The Mākaha Sons

7:30 p.m.

The holiday concert features one of our favorite local groups with appearances by Robi Kahakalau, ‘Iolani and Natalie Ai Kamau‘u, Maria Raquel Higa and more.

 

$35–$50. 1130 Bethel St., (808) 791-1397, hawaiitheatre.com

 


 

Wednesday, Dec. 22

All Out Photos with Santa at Ka Makana Ali‘i

6–8 p.m.

Every Wednesday in December, Santa will have a special theme for families coming for photos. The last before Christmas will be an ‘ohana, hālau or squad theme.

 

Free with purchase of a photo package, which starts at $33. 91-5431 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, (808) 628-4800, kamakanaalii.com, @kamakanaalii

 


 

Thursday, Dec. 23

Brunch with Santa at Keiki & the Pineapple

9 a.m.

Have brunch outside as your little ones write their letters to Santa. He will be stopping by to chat and to take photos. Each table can comfortably fit five or six, depending on the number of kids and adults. You can also pre-order from the menu so your unicorn toast or brulee Brie and guava jelly toast arrives at your table when you arrive.

 

$25 per table, food not included. 909 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Suite B, (808) 369-7025, keikiandthepineapple.com, @keikiandthepineapple

 


 

Past Events

 

Sunday, Nov. 21

Santa’s Arrival at Windward Mall

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Santa arrives at the center’s Windward Wonderland set. The first 200 keiki 3 years and older to take their photos with the jolly elf will receive a stocking with goodies. Bring a canned good donation for The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army Angel Tree will also be at the center so your family can select a child or senior to gift this season.

 

Free, 45-056 Kamehameha Highway, Kāne‘ohe, windwardmall.com, @windwardmall

 


 

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Royal Hawaiian Center Tree Lighting

5:15–8 p.m.

Watch this annual celebration in-person or virtually on Facebook. Live entertainment and visits from holiday and fairy tale characters from Storybook Hawai‘i lead up to  Santa and Mrs. Claus counting down to the lighting of the center’s 34-foot Christmas tree.

 

Free. Royal Hawaiian Center, 2201 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 922-2299, royalhawaiiancenter.com

 


 

Friday, Nov. 26

Santa Arrives at Pearlridge Center

11–11:15 a.m.

The big man himself will walk through Wai Makai before settling into his spot in the Center Court.

 

98-1005 Moanalua Road, ‘Aiea, pearlridgeonline.com, @pearlridge

 


 

Saturday, Nov. 27

UV/LED Holiday Resin Charms Workshop at Ben Franklin Mapunapuna

2–4 p.m.

Kids 12 years and older will learn how to mix, pour and layer resin to make a festive  UV/LED resin charm. We spotted a gingerbread house, snow globe, gingerbread person and snowflake among the options.

 

$30. 2810 Pa‘a St., (808) 833-3800, benfranklinhawaii.com, @bfcrafts

 


 

Santa’s Arrival at Hawai‘i Kai Towne Center

3—7 p.m.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrives for one night of photo taking. The entertainment includes stilt walkers, balloon animals and an ornament workshop, which all begins at 3 p.m. Photos with Santa are 5:30—7 p.m.

 

Free. 333 Keahole St., (808) 396-0766, hawaiikaitownecenter.com, @hawaiikaitownecenter