Sun and Snow: Hawaiian Holiday Experiences

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Escape the cold this winter and head to Hawaii to celebrate the holidays. There’s plenty to do on the tropical islands that will make you feel like you’re celebrating at home, without any of the work or hassle.

Experience a white Christmas on Maui this December as the Queen Kaahumanu Center will transform into a giant snow globe from December 1-24. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays each week, visitors of the center will be able to witness a real-life snowfall. The interactive experience begins at 6:30 p.m. each evening and lasts about two hours, until 8:30 p.m., with snowfalls occurring in 10 minute intervals. Don’t worry about dressing for the weather; the Queen Kaahumanu Center says that board shorts and flip flops are completely acceptable for this storm.

Kicking off December 2 at 6:00 p.m. will be the 20th Annual Festival of Lights at Kauai’s Historic County Building. Open weekends (meaning Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) from 6-8 p.m. from December 2 through December 24, families can visit the park to see the lights and explore a collection of Christmas folk art created by local Kauai artisans from recycled materials. For families with little ones, be sure to visit the Festival on Christmas Eve, where children will have the opportunity to visit with Mrs. Clause and Santa himself – before he ventures round the world for the evening.

Those on Oahu will want to visit the annual Honolulu City Lights, starting on December 3 and running through December 30. The event will begin on the 3rd with a tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. at Honolulu Hale, followed by a not-to-miss Electric Light Parade. The parade will begin at Aala Park before making its way down King Street and through Downtown Honolulu. Honolulu Hale and the grounds of the Civic Center will be transformed with light displays, decorated trees and wreaths for visitors to enjoy. The event features food booths, holiday concerts, keiki (or child) rides and photos with St. Nick.

Also happening on December 3 is the Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade, celebrating its 56th year on the island of Hawaii. Themed this year as “Starlight Christmas,” festivities will include a Santa float, a variety of participating booths including churches, schools, youth groups, community organizations, farms, ranches and businesses, and of course a brigade of festively-lit trucks. For those who want to meet Santa, head to Parker Ranch Center’s Fireside Food Court after he finishes riding in the parade for a chance to say hello.

Children and adults alike will appreciate MauiWine’s Third Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Ulupalakua, starting Saturday, December 10 at 4:30 p.m. Throughout the evening families and friends can attend this admission-free event and witness the lighting of a 20-foot decorated Monterey pine tree from Kula Botanical Gardens. Bring chairs and blankets to enjoy an under-the-stars screening of holiday films like Home Alone while enjoying comfort food and warm drinks provided by the property. Sparkling toasts and wine tastings will be available for adults inside the King’s Cottage, while kids can enjoy holiday games and live music by Haiku Hillbilly’s. Don’t Forget: bring a can of non-perishable food as a donation to the Maui Food Bank to give back this holiday season.

If you’re in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve, head to Poipu Beach Park on Kauai or the Shertaon Waikiki on Oahu to ring in the New Year. At Poipu Beach Park, a free, ocean-side event is open to the public from 5:30-9:00 p.m. to celebrate the successes of 2016 and future prosperity of 2017. The event includes food trucks, live entertainment, movies in the park and activities for children, concluded by a fireworks display before guests head out to their midnight destinations.

At the Sheraton Waikiki, countdown 2017 at “Interstellar,” a New Year’s Eve celebration with four DJ’s and live entertainment featured at three of the hotel’s venues (RumFire, Helumoa Pool and the Infinity Edge Pool), all of which provide ample viewing opportunities to witness the evenings midnight fireworks display. To upgrade your evening, purchase tickets to the Helumoa Pool as it’s transformed into the “Champagne Room,” an exclusive area for up to 300 guests. Tickets for the event are available for purchase through the Honolulu Box Office.

If you're still undecided on how to spend your Hawaiian holiday, check out The Hawaiian Visitors and Convention Bureau online for all the latest in Hawaii Tourism this holiday season.

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