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 Nov. 23, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Gov. David Ige announced loosened COVID restrictions for Oahu and the entire state.
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The gathering size for all other events continues to be 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Safe Access Oahu and the statewide indoor mask mandate 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:
- Keiki Kalikimaka – Surprises await keiki who find any or all of the three elves hiding in the holiday-themed displays at Alexander & Baldwin’s shopping centers around Kailua Town. Each of the six displays offers a nostalgic theme with a fun photo opportunity, but only three of them are hiding places for the shy Kailua Town elves who can reveal the nearby shops where keiki can pick up a holiday treat. Join the free holiday fun, Dec. 3 – 5, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- 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.
- Kapolei Hale City Lights — Soak in more lights at the Kapolei Hale (1000 Ulu‘ōhia St) beginning Saturday, Dec. 11, through Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.
- 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.
- The Christmas Bar Hawaii — Get into the Christmas spirit at this pop-up, family-friendly bar at the Tiki’s Grill & Bar in Waikiki. Purchase some delightful drinks and desserts — with or without alcohol — from noon to 11:30 p.m. through Dec. 23.
- 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.
- Holiday Lights at Ward Village — Even though Hawaii is full of palm trees instead of pine trees, Ward Village offers an “island-style winter wonderland.” Check out the holiday lights and music now through Jan. 2, 2022. A light show will also happen each night located at the IBM building.
- JTB School Holiday Tours through Waikiki — Local families wanting to enjoy Christmas break can take their kids along this trolley and bus tour experience through Waikiki. Tours will be from 1 to 5 p.m. starting Saturday, Dec. 18, through Christmas Eve — also on Sunday, Dec 26. All keiki must be accompanied by an adult who must show a COVID vaccine card to board — Hawaii residents only.
- Tours are free; first come, first serve
- Buses leave every 20-30 minutes from the Ala Moana Center Bus Depot
- Inaugural North Shore Christmas Festival — Stop by the North Shore Stables (67-221 Waialua Beach Road) from Dec. 3 to 23 for some Christmas fun. The festival will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Admissions costs will be $10 for adults; $5 for those aged 13 to 17; free for kids aged 12 and below. Parking is free.
- North Shore Wreath-making Competition — Participants can email firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 1 to submit an entry of their decorate wreaths. They will be displayed and voted on by the public at the festival.
- Pajama Party at Olino by Consolidated Theatres — Families and keiki can wear their comfiest pajamas at several classic Christmas movie showings while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies on three separate Saturdays. Show times range from 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. (pending ticket sales). To purchase a ticket, click here.
- Dec. 4 — Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch
- Dec. 11 — The Polar Express
- Dec. 18 — Elf
- OMG Holiday Fair, Omiyage Market — Stop by this holiday market and check out the many vendors onsite. The event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays — Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19. It is located in the Waimalu Shopping Center between Waimalu Chop Suey and Chun Wah Kam (98-020 Kamehameha Hwy. #119, Aiea, HI 96701).
- Waikele Premium Outlets — The shopping center will offer extended holiday hours & festivities to accomodate the needs of busy shoppers. Gift wrapping for donations will be offered beginning Saturday, Dec. 11, to Friday, Dec. 24. Donations will benefit Students and Parents Against Drugs and Alcohol (SPADA) and the Simon Youth Foundation.
- Storybook Hawaii at Windward Mall — Local keiki can visit the mall for a festive events to meet for the chance to meet some elves, sing songs and design holiday crafts.
- Flurry & Snow Holiday Sing-Along Show — Join Flurry and Snow in finding Rudolph the reindeer at Windward Mall’s Center Court. The show will start at 11 to 11:20 a.m. on the following dates: Dec. 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24.
- Elf Education Station — Craft with elves at the Center Court! The price to participate is $20 for each keiki; all children will receive a special good bag. Participants can craft from either 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24.
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 Cares — Families 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.
- Windward Mall’s Photos with Santa — Santa is located at Hickam Federal Credit Union’s Windward Winter Wonderland in Center Court until Christmas Eve. Photo ops are available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
- Pet pics with Santa will be on Sundays — Dec. 5, 12, 19 — from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Click here for info on how to win a free Santa Photo Package and for a list of Santa Theme Nights.
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 letter — postmarked 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.
Holiday 2021 activities, events on Maui, Kauai, Big Island:
- Santa Live on the Big Island — Families can be entertained by song and dance at this interactive drive-in located at Keck Observatory Headquarters. There will be elves, a Grinch, a 30-foot LED screen to watch performances, as well as a chance to call Santa. It will run from Thursday, Dec. 9, to Sunday, Dec. 12. To buy tickets, click here.
- 25th Annual Festival of Lights on Kauai — Enjoy this Kauai-style holiday wonderland for free every night from 6 to 11 p.m. through New Year’s Day. It is located at the Lihue County Park (4396 Rice St Lihue, Hawaii 96766).
- Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Historic County Building Porch from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays — Dec. 10, 17 and Christmas Eve.
- Queen Ka’ahumanu Center’s Photos with Santa on Maui — Visit Santa’s winter village located in the north wing, first level meet Santa through Christmas Eve. He is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Walk-ins are accepted.
- Compassionate Santa is also available for children and adults with special needs; contact (808) 877-3369 or email@example.com.
- Santa Paws will be available for furry friends from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays: Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Dec. 14.
- Maui Mall Village’s Photos with Santa — Attendees can now take a customized, virtual photo with Santa and his elf at the mall’s photobooth from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays until Dec. 18. He will also be available Wednesday, Dec. 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations can be made here.
- The Shops at Wailea’s Photos with Santa — Those on Maui will have another opportuntiy to meet Santa between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on three Saturdays: Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 18. Santa will sit at The Shops’ Wailea Window Wonderland behind a storefront window in The Shops’ Upper Valley to ensure safety.
- Guests will also be able to participate in the Holiday Food Drive at the same time by donating canned foods. Online donations can be made here.
- Empty the Shelters: Holiday Hope for pet adoptions — BISSELL Pet Foundation is hosting its reduced-fee adoption event from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20. Maui and Kauai residents will be able bring home a dog or cat for the holidays at the Kauai Humane Society and Maui Humane Society. For more info, contact either shelters.