Hawaii Island hula girls celebrate the holidays during the Kailua-Kona Christmas parade. // © www.paradesinkona.com
When Hawaii Island celebrates the year-end holidays, Santa’s sleigh looks like a surfboard, sugarplum fairies resemble hula girls and Christmas dinner turns into a luau.
For clients who want to create new holiday traditions, Hawaii Island has another big selling point in December: the weather. While Jack Frost nips at the noses of mainlanders, visitors in the 50th state find themselves basking daily in the warmth of the sun.
Check out these distinctive holiday festivities awaiting clients on Hawaii Island.
Mochi Pounding at Akiko's Buddhist Bed and Breakfast
On the morning of Dec. 28 in mellow Wailea town, locals and visitors gather to make Japanese rice cakes the old-fashioned way. Crafts, floral arrangements, plantation stories, taiko drumming, a local-style lunch and Hawaiian entertainment add to the festivities.
Coconut Christmas Tree at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
During the holidays, this Kohala Coast luxury resort displays a 14-foot-tall Christmas tree made entirely of coconuts. On Dec. 21, the public can attend a tree lighting ceremony hosted by one of the resort's beach club ambassadors.
Crafts Fair and Tree Lighting at Hilton Waikoloa Village
From Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, the 19th annual Na Lima Hana crafts fair in the hotel’s convention center showcases Hawaiian quilts, carvings, ornaments, jewelry, clothing and gifts. The Dec. 6 tree lighting ceremony includes carolers, hula dancers, Christmas cookies and a visit from Santa.
Planetarium Show at Imiloa Astronomy Center
Dec. 13 is the date for “Mystery of the Christmas Star,” a holiday planetarium show and modern retelling of the Christmas story. It offers a possible scientific explanation for the twinkling light that the three wise men followed to reach the baby Jesus.
Christmas Parade in Kailua-Kona
Set aside Dec. 14 for this 29th annual cascade of entertainment through Kailua-Kona town. Visitors can see marching bands in aloha shirts, hula girls with tinsel leis, sugarplum fairies on roller skates and dogs dressed like reindeer. Members of the county fire department crowds cool off the crowds with fire hoses.
Caroling and Crafts at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
The hotel honors the holidays with a day-long Hawaiian crafts fair, caroling in the lobby and daily dinner specials in the Honu’s on the Beach restaurant. A special edition of its traditional Hawaiian luau takes place on Dec. 25.
Christmas Gift Fair in Hilo
On Dec. 6-7, the Na Makua Invitational Christmas gift fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium features products crafted by local artists and gifts not available elsewhere. Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment, local food and drawings for prizes.