LIST: Holiday 2021 events, activities around Oahu

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Shoppers wear face masks while in search of after-Christmas bargains in shops in the Denver Pavilions Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Holiday season has already begun in Hawaii since Halloween ended. At certain Zippy’s Restaurants, turkey orders have already sold out and decorative Christmas trees are ready for purchase at stores for families that love to see their tree up early.

On Oct. 27, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced a reopening plan that lifted gathering restrictions for certain events on Oahu. A few events that will have loosened capacity limits and require guests to be fully vaccinated include managed indoor and outdoor events — like sports, concerts, weddings and funerals.

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However, the gathering size for all other events continues to be 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Safe Access Oahu also currently remains in effect this Holiday season.

With the holiday spirit in the air, there are many Holiday and Christmas events to attend, and the first one starts with Big Santa who made his debut at Ala Moana Center. Big Santa is located on the Center’s makai parking deck, fronting Ala Moana Boulevard. According to Ala Moana Center officials, “the 50-foot structure is made up of 2,500 square feet of fiberglass and nearly 2,000 pounds of resin.”

Holiday 2021 events, activities:

  • Big Santa Holiday Gift-with-purchase — Shoppers will have the chance to get a limited-edition oven mitt and potholder with a Big Santa charm. In order to get one, you must have $500 in receipts from stores at Ala Moana Center dated between Nov. 13 to Dec. 24 (while supplies last). The prize can be redeemed at guest services. Original store receipts are required; no more than three per store. Participants must be 13 years or older; one gift per person.
  • Honolulu Hale City Lights — Join in the fun and cheer, capture merry photos, witness bright lights and take in the delightfully decorated 55-foot Christmas tree at the Honolulu Hale Courtyard which will open to the public on Monday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. The tree was planted in the 1950s and harvested from a Kailua family’s yard.
    • Festivities begin with the live ceremony event on Saturday, Dec. 4, being broadcasted on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53.
  • Aloha Land’s Winter Wonderland — Guests ranging from keiki to kupuna can be transported to this Holiday Wonderland at the Aloha Stadium. This attraction will run between 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Friday, Nov. 19, to Saturday, Jan. 1. It features a drive-thru light show, 50-foot mega tree, socially distanced photos with santa, walking light tunnel, food court and picnic area. For more info, including a map, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.
  • Pearlridge Express Keiki under 48 inches tall can hop aboard the Pearlridge Center’s train and journey through holiday toyland located at the Mauka Center Court. Rides will run daily from Saturday, Nov. 20, through Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Tickets cost $5 per child.
  • Hele Mele Botanicals Holiday Mini Photo Sessions — Capture holiday joy at these photo sessions in 30-minute sessions between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (on the hour) on Nov. 20, 21, 27 and 28. Sessions will cost $200 and will either be located Kahala Beach or Kapiolani Park. To request a time/book a spot DM @chrissylambertphoto on IG or email

Where to meet, take photos with Santa on Oahu:

  • Santa’s arrival at Hawaii Kai Towne Center Join in these family-friendly festivities from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27. Photos and selfies with Santa will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and features include Christmas music, stilt walkers, balloon animals and an ornament workshop.
  • Ala Moana Center’s contactless Photos with Santa — Socially-distanced photo sessions with Santa will be scheduled from Thursday, Nov. 18, to Christmas Eve; click here for hours of operation. He will be located on Mall Level 2, Ewa Wing (between Oakley and Tesla). Appointments are encouraged; click here to make one.
    • Pet photo night — Bring your cats and dogs only for a chance for our furry friends to meet Santa from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday between Nov. 29 and Dec. 20.
    • Santa CaresFamilies and keiki with special needs can meet Santa in this sensory-friendly experience. These events will take place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on two Sundays: Dec. 5 and 12.
    • For Ala Moana Center’s holiday hours, click here.
  • Pearlridge Center’s Photos with Santa — Looking for Santa? Find him on the second level Wai Makai (previously Downtown) Center Court above Longs Drugs. Take this opportunity to get some festive photos between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24. To book a required appointment, click here.
  • Royal Hawaiian Center’s Photos with Santa Every Saturday from Nov. 27 to Dec. 22, those who wish to meet Santa can snap a photo with him between 5 and 7 p.m. All guests will be given a free printed photo; no personal cameras will be allowed.

Virtual and drive-thru Holiday 2021 activities:

  • U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa — Be a part of this program and “deliver a happy holidays” to keiki and families in need or affected by COVID. Kids can submit a letterpostmarked by Dec. 10 — detailing their Christmas wishes; participants can “adopt” these letters and purchase those gifts on Santa’s behalf. Hawaii residents can begin reading through letters Monday, Nov. 29.
  • Jingle Rock Ride — Rock in the comfort of your own car and drive around to see some of Oahu’s best holiday lights. Participants will be given a map of must-see neighborhoods; the event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Also consider making a donation here to support local keiki with critical illnesses and raise funds to grant their wishes. To register for this drive, click here.
  • Rocking Around the Parking Lot — Honolulu Parks & Rec will host a live, in-person, interactive event at Manoa Valley District Park on Saturday, Dec. 4. The event will feature a physically distanced parade through the parking lot, and those in attendance can help choose the winning display. Registration is required and begins on Nov. 26, space is limited. Register here.
  • Zoom for a Cause with Santa Claus — The Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor is hosting a zoom aboard the Mighty Mo for a virutal visit with Santa Claus. The event will be on Thursday, Dec. 16, Friday, Dec. 17 and on Saturday, Dec. 18. There are photo packages with Santa to choose from, all at the comfort of your hale. To register for his event, click here.

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