Hawaii December 13, 2017
11 Weird And Wacky Holiday Traditions You’ll Only Get If You’re From Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands are probably the last place to cross your mind when you imagine a traditional holiday season. While you obviously won’t find snow or chilly weather unless you head to the summit of Mauna Kea, we also celebrate Christmas a little bit differently around here. Here are 11 Christmas traditions that might seem weird to anyone who hasn’t spent a ton of time in the Aloha State.
1. Santa Claus trades in his sleigh and reindeer for an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins.
Santa Claus is coming to town, and when that town just so happens to be located on a remote island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, his vehicle of choice isn’t his trusty sleigh pulled by reindeer. Instead, Santa arrives in Hawaii on an outrigger canoe. Some depictions even show Santa being pulled by a team of dolphins. Everyone knows that reindeer don't thrive in a tropical climate.
2. Blasting the A/C, drinking hot chocolate, and pretending it’s cold outside.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas when it’s 80 degrees outside, does it? Every once in awhile during the holidays, it’s fun to crank the air conditioning and enjoy a mug of warm hot chocolate. If you don't have A/C at home, head to the movies!
3. Making a Hawaiian snowman at the beach is a must.
You won’t have to worry about your sandman melting, though you might have to worry about your creation being swept away by the tide… just don’t forget your shovel!
4. Telling other "Mele Kalikimaka" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Bing Crosby said it best: "Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you."
5. The decor in unlike anything you’ll find across America.
Palm trees get decked out in twinkling lights, our Norfolk Pines are decorated with flowers instead of tinsel, and wreaths are made from poinsettias. There’s truly no better way to celebrate the season in Hawaii.
6. Eat Kalua pork instead of turkey and sticky white rice instead of mashed potatoes.
As a cultural melting pot, our traditional Christmas dinner doesn’t look quite as traditional as one might expect from the United States.
7. Speaking of food, haupia pie from Ted’s Bakery is a necessity.
Or Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop if you’re living on Maui. No matter where you purchase haupia pie (you can even make it yourself), it’s a must on every holiday table.
8. Photos taken with Santa look a little different.
Santa can shed his big, red suit and clunky boots in this tropical climate and don a festive Hawaiian shirt instead — or simply wearing shorts and slippers instead of pants and boots.
9. We listen to uniquely Hawaiian Christmas music.
What’s Christmas without carols? And what’s Christmas in Hawaii without traditional Hawaiian Christmas songs, like
10. The Christmas parades are nothing short of epic.
In Hawaii, we LOVE our Christmas parades. Perhaps because it’s warm enough to really enjoy them? With countless Christmas parades happening across the islands, you're sure to find one close to home.
11. Christmas dinner is followed by a trip to the beach — wearing Santa hats and leis, of course.
Because we want to be festive AND still enjoy our days off at the beach. Besides, what’s better than a holiday trip to the beach?
Want to learn more about Hawaii’s favorite Christmas activities? It’s not Christmas in Hawaii until you do
these 11 magical things, including paying a visit to the Honolulu City Lights.