The 63-foot-tall Christmas tree during the Honolulu City Lights celebration // © 2010 Oahu Visitors Bureau
Dec. 4-Jan. 3: Honolulu City Lights. During this spectacular Christmas tradition, the city’s 63-foot-tall tree dazzles passers-by. On opening night, the Light Parade starts at 6:30 p.m., and holiday concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Nov. 20-Jan. 4: Christmas Wreath Exhibit. Local artists get creative in the spirit of Christmas and display their one-of-a-kind holiday wreaths. Open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Volcano Art Center Gallery, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Dec. 19: Jingle Bell Beach Run. This scenic jaunt for the whole family starts at 7:30 a.m. at Kailua Pier. The circular route begins and ends at Kaiakeakua Beach, with two options available: a 5K run and a one-mile course.
Dec. 27: Mochi Pounding Celebration. This event celebrates one of Hawaii’s favorite foods, mochi (Japanese rice cakes). Participants take part in the ceremonial rice pounding, buy reasonably priced local-style lunches, enjoy island music and more. Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast, Hakalau.
Dec. 3: Lights on Rice Parade and Christmas Craft Fair. At this free festival, guests can sample treats from food booths, enjoy live entertainment and more, all on the grounds of the Kauai Museum. Lihue.
Dec. 10, 12, 17 and 19: Slack-Key Guitar Concerts. Every Friday and Sunday, clients experience Hawaiian music in a truly local setting. Shows are on Fridays from 4-5:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 3-4:30 p.m. Hanalei Community Center.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Fireworks. This brilliant aerial fireworks spectacle starts at 10 p.m. on the island’s south shore and is visible from many area resorts along the coast.
Dec. 3: Na Mele O Maui. This tuneful competition features Maui County students from kindergarten through 12th grade performing traditional Hawaiian songs. Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Kaanapali.
Dec. 11: Storytelling Festival: Family Hula Stories. At this free event, families with a background in hula share their stories along with an art exhibit on their culture called “Ho’oulu: The Inspiration of Hula.” Schaefer International Gallery.
Dec. 1-21: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Surf’s up, and that means it’s time once again for this high-profile surfing series, staged on the monstrous winter waves. Oahu’s events take place during days when the conditions are best. Check out the action at the North Shore’s three premier surfing destinations: Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline.
Dec. 12: Honolulu Marathon. The 26-mile scenic course includes spectacular ocean views alongside Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and Koko Head Crater. The action begins at 5 a.m., with the finish line in Kapiolani Park.
Dec. 24: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. A fun way for football fans to spend Christmas Eve, this Sheraton-sponsored game pits a Conference USA team against a team from the Western Athletic Conference. Aloha Stadium.