For some, Christmas in Hawaii just doesn’t feel the same as a white, wintry, cozy-up-by-the-fire type of Christmas. It’s true; we don’t get the snow, or the chilly weather, or the layering of scarves, jackets, and wool mittens. But we’re also not complaining! What’s not to love about a holiday season spent entirely in a bathing suit? While we locals may miss out on the frostbite, snowmen, and sledding, it doesn’t mean we miss out on the holiday cheer. In fact, Hawaii gets just as dressed up and decked out as any town on the mainland, and in case you’re planning a Christmas in the islands, we’re giving you a quick guide to Christmas trees and decoration, Hawaii-style!
It’s hard to give up the fresh cut scent of a Douglas fir, but Hawaii’s traditional trees are just as beautiful and have a uniqueness to them that is decidedly tropical. Norfolk Pine trees grow extremely well in Hawaii’s humidity, which is why they are ideal for Christmas trees. They are green, have pine needles, and are great for decorating. Ample space between each branch gives the tree a layered look, making it fun to get creative with the garlands, leis, ornaments, and lights. You can find a Norfolk Pine in sizes ranging from 5-20 feet tall, and they retain their healthy green look for a full month. You’re better off purchasing a Norfolk Pine while in Hawaii because if you opt to purchase a classic looking fir or spruce tree, chances are it will dry up and turn brown within a few weeks time.
You may notice that many locals spray their Christmas trees with fake snow. It may be to get a wintry feel in the home, or it may be to cover up the brown needles. Whether the reason is for aesthetics or practicality, this is another feature of Hawaii Christmas trees that are readily available and popular within the culture. Ornaments can be as streamlined or mismatched as you like. Stores like WalMart and Longs Drugs offer a variety of ornaments, or you can find specialty ones at the Waikiki Christmas Store, Hallmark, or boutiques around town during the season. Lights can also be easily found, just remember, the electric bill in Hawaii is most likely more expensive than on the mainland, so make sure you unplug all lights before bed and when you’re not at home. This helps to save costs and electricity, and lower Hawaii’s carbon footprint.
One thing that I always loved about Christmas in the mainland was taking a trip to the nearest Christmas tree farm and cutting down that perfect one with all my family and friends. Hawaii offers a few different farms throughout the state, so depending on where you’re staying, you can have this experience too. On Oahu, there is Helemano Farms in Wahiawa. On Maui you will find the Kula Botanical Gardens Christmas Tree Farm and Upcountry Farm Specialties, both in Kula. On the Big Island, you can find Hawaiian Gardens in Kailua-Kona, and on Kauai, you’ll just have to purchase your tree from Big Save, WalMart, or Home Depot.
There are plenty of shops that unload containers full of Christmas trees from the mainland, just remember, Hawaii’s tradition of a Norfolk Pine is what gives Christmas on the islands a unique feel to it. A good idea to get a blend of mainland Christmas with Hawaii Christmas is to buy the wreaths made of Douglas fir branches. This will achieve the pine scent you crave during the holiday season, and also offer more decoration for the home. You can also purchase a mulled cider scented candle, which has a Christmas affect on the senses too. Candy canes are always fun, but be cautious of the ants you might attract. Hot chocolate outside atop a valley, sugar cookie decorating at home, and sledding on sand are all other ways to fulfill your Christmas wishes.
Everybody loves a cheerful season, so if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii for the holidays, don’t miss out on the Christmas fun! There is plenty for you to work with here in the islands, and this Christmas in Hawaii might just offer some new family traditions and customs that you bring home with you. Spread the aloha during the holiday season and come celebrate with us in the warm weather. We’re sure you won’t miss trading out the snow boots for a pair of slippers, so come experience Christmas in the Hawaiian way. Mele Kalikimaka!