Christmas on Oahu: The Ultimate Guide to Oahu During the Holidays (2023)

by | Aug 21, 2023

Planning a Christmas vacation to Oahu? As someone who has experienced the magic of Christmas on Oahu, I know how overwhelming it can be to navigate an island full of unique traditions and events.

This article is your ultimate guide for Christmas on Oahu, providing you with the rundown on climate, key events, where to dine & celebrate New Year’s Eve, answering common FAQs, oh and Shaka Santa!

Get ready—Mele Kalikimaka spirit awaits!

Is Christmas a good time to visit Oahu?

Yes, Christmas is a good time to visit Oahu. Christmas on Oahu is less crowded, cost-effective, and hosts many Christmas activities compared to other Hawaiian islands.

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Information Disclaimer: This website gives general info and isn’t legal or official advice. It helps travelers with tips but can’t replace personal abilities, fitness, experience, or local knowledge, which you are fully liable for. All activities have risks; assess current conditions and follow local laws and signage.

Key Takeaways of Christmas on Oahu

  • Christmas on Oahu offers a unique blend of tropical weather and Hawaiian traditions, with warm and sunny days perfect for beach days and surfing Santa events.
  • Key events in Oahu during December 2023 include the Christmas Luau, Honolulu City Lights, Pearl Harbor Anniversary Events, and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
  • Waikiki Beach Walk is a popular destination for Christmas activities, offering live music, hula performances, festive decorations, and unique shopping opportunities.

Understanding Visiting Hawaii During Christmas

Christmas in Hawaii is unlike anywhere else, with its unique blend of tropical weather and Hawaiian traditions. The climate during Christmas is warm and sunny, making it the perfect destination for those looking to escape the winter cold.

People in Hawaii celebrate Christmas with their own traditions on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For example, lighting up palm trees instead of fir trees and enjoying outdoor activities like beach picnics and surfing Santa events.

The holiday season also brings the joyful sounds of Hawaiian Christmas songs, known as “Mele Kalikimaka,” that can be heard throughout the islands.

the best hawaiian christmas songs

Climate During Christmas

On Oahu, Christmas is sunny and bright. It’s not like the winter in other places. There is no snow on Oahu. Instead, you will find warm sandy beaches. The days are often mild, with the sun shining down on palm trees.

Traditions and Celebrations

In Hawaii, Christmas sheds new light on fun and joy. Santa Claus leaves his sled at home. He arrives here on an outrigger canoe! This is one of the island’s fun twists to classic traditions.

Merry Christmas spirit fills the air as locals say, “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Traditional carols are not left out, either. A special service takes place on Waikiki Beach.

The “Waikiki Beach Gathering”, often referred to as “Church on da Beach”, hosts a special Christmas event named ‘Twas the Night on December 25th. Join them at 6:30pm on the beach near 2729 Kalakaua Avenue.

The evening will showcase banyan trees illuminated with Christmas lights, a candlelight service with Christmas carols, a retelling of the Christmas tale, a spoken word segment, and a portrayal of Joseph’s narrative.

Hawaiian Christmas Songs

I love hearing Hawaiian Christmas songs. They add a special touch to the holiday season. Here are my favorites:

  • “Mele Kalikimaka” is the popular one. It means “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian.
  • “Hawaiian Santa” is another fun song. It talks about Santa coming to town on a surfboard!
  • “Christmas Day in Hawaii Nei” is a sweet tune about how we celebrate here on the islands.
  • “Numbah One Day of Christmas” is a fun take on the classic “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
  • Don’t forget about Ballet Hawaii’s show! Every December, they put a unique spin on Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Key Christmas Events in Oahu During December

December in Oahu promises to be a month full of exciting events and festivities, including the popular Christmas Luau, Honolulu City Lights, Pearl Harbor Anniversary Events, and the thrilling Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

RELATED PODCAST: Oahu Travel Guide

Christmas Luau

The Christmas Luau is one of the biggest events happening in Oahu during December 2023. It’s a really special celebration that combines Hawaiian culture with the festive spirit of Christmas.

At the luau, you can try delicious Hawaiian food, listen to music and watch exciting dance performances. There are also lots of fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

It’s a unique way to experience Christmas in Hawaii and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

So make sure to check out the Christmas Luau if you’re visiting Oahu during the holiday season!

Honolulu City Lights

Honolulu City Lights is an amazing event that happens every December in Oahu. It’s a special time when the city comes alive with festive lights and decorations. People from all over come to see the beautiful Christmas displays and enjoy the holiday spirit.

There are parades, concerts, and even a chance to meet Santa Claus! One of the highlights is the lighting of the huge Christmas tree at Honolulu Hale, which is a sight you won’t want to miss.

If you’re planning a trip to Waikiki during December 2023, be sure to check out Honolulu City Lights for a magical experience that will make your holiday season extra special.

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is an exciting surfing contest that takes place at Haleiwa Beach in Oahu. It’s a big event featuring the best surfers from all around the world. Held in December 2023, it’s one of the highlights of the Christmas season on Oahu.

This competition is closely tied to the holiday festivities in Waikiki during that time. If you’re visiting Hawaii during this period, you can watch top-notch surfing competitions while soaking up the Christmas spirit on Oahu.

Waikiki Christmas Events 2023

Experience the magic of Christmas in Waikiki with a stroll along the beautiful Waikiki Beach Walk, indulge in shopping at the Waikiki Christmas Store, and enjoy a festive Rock a Hula Christmas Luau.

Waikiki Beach Walk

Waikiki Beach Walk is a popular destination in Hawaii for Christmas activities. During the month of December, Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza offers holiday entertainment and Hawaiian culture celebrations on select nights.

Visitors can enjoy live music, hula performances, and festive decorations that create a joyful atmosphere. You can also find unique shopping opportunities at the many boutiques and stores in the area.

And don’t forget to bring your camera because Santa Claus arrives in a canoe at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu! It’s definitely a special place to experience the Mele Kalikimaka spirit during your visit to Oahu.

Shopping at the Waikiki Christmas Store

If you’re looking for Christmas decorations and gifts with a Hawaiian twist, the Waikiki Christmas Store is the place to go. This store offers a wide selection of Christmas and Hawaii-themed items that will bring some aloha spirit to your holiday celebrations.

From ornaments and lights to unique souvenirs, you can find everything you need to make your Christmas in Hawaii extra special. So, don’t miss out on a visit to the Waikiki Christmas Store during your vacation – it’s a must-visit destination for anyone spending their holidays in Oahu.

Rock a Hula Christmas Luau

One exciting Waikiki Christmas activity is attending the Rock a Hula Christmas Luau. This unique event brings together the spirit of Christmas and Hawaiian culture at the Royal Hawaiian Theater in Waikiki.

At this luau, you can enjoy live music, hula dancing, and a traditional Hawaiian feast. What makes it even more special is that there’s a Polynesian show featuring Elvis tribute artists! It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate Christmas while immersing yourself in the vibrant Hawaiian traditions.

Best Places for Christmas Dinner on Oahu

Indulge in a festive feast at Hula Grill Waikiki, Duke’s Waikiki, or Paradise Cove Luau on Christmas for an unforgettable dining experience.

Hula Grill Waikiki

Hula Grill Waikiki is one of the best places to have a delicious Christmas dinner in Oahu. I’m happy to tell you that they will be open on Christmas Day. so you can enjoy a tasty meal with your loved ones.

While they don’t have a specific Christmas menu, their regular menu offers a wide variety of mouthwatering dishes for everyone’s taste. From fresh seafood to juicy steaks, you’ll find something that satisfies your cravings.

It’s recommended to make your reservation for Christmas Eve dinner by mid-November to secure a spot at this popular restaurant. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to dine at Hula Grill Waikiki and have a memorable Christmas experience in Oahu!

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christmas at hula grill waikiki

Duke’s Waikiki

Duke’s Waikiki is one of the best places to have a Christmas meal in Oahu. They are open on Christmas and offer a great dining experience with their delicious food and beautiful oceanfront views.

Although they don’t have a specific Christmas menu, you can still enjoy their famous dishes like fresh seafood, steaks, and tropical cocktails. It’s a popular spot among locals and visitors alike, so it’s recommended to make a reservation in advance.

Whether you’re celebrating with family or friends, Duke’s Waikiki is sure to provide a memorable dining experience during your Christmas visit to Oahu.

Paradise Cove Luau on Christmas

If you’re looking for a special place to dine on Christmas in Oahu, Paradise Cove Luau is definitely worth considering. This luau offers a unique and festive dining experience that combines delicious food with traditional Hawaiian entertainment.

You can enjoy a buffet-style feast featuring local favorites like kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, and poiwhile being entertained byhula dancers and fire knife performers. Prices for the special Christmas menus at Paradise Cove Luau range from $22 to $180 per person, depending on the package you choose.

It’s a great way to embrace the spirit of Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) in Hawaii!

New Year’s Celebrations in Oahu

Experience the excitement of New Year’s Eve in Oahu with a moonlight cruise, Aloha Tower party, and a spectacular fireworks display.

New Year’s Eve Moonlight Cruise

The New Year’s Eve Moonlight Cruise is an exciting event in Oahu that you won’t want to miss. It’s a fun way to celebrate the new year’s arrival with family and friends. The cruise occurs on New Year’s Eve and offers a gourmet buffet, live music, and breathtaking ocean views.

You’ll also have a front-row seat to watch the fireworks light up the night sky. The cruise departs from Aloha Tower Market, adding to the charm of this special experience. Don’t forget to book your tickets early so you don’t miss out on this unforgettable celebration!

Aloha Tower New Year’s Party

I’m excited to tell you about the Aloha Tower New Year’s Party! It’s an amazing event in Oahu that celebrates the start of the new year. This party is located at Aloha Tower Marketplace, with live music, delicious food, and a festive atmosphere.

You can dance the night away under the stars and enjoy stunning views of Honolulu Harbor. As midnight approaches, there’s a countdown to welcome the new year with fireworks lighting up the sky.

It’s a memorable way to ring in the new year in Oahu!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

The New Year’s Eve fireworks in Oahu are a must-see event! They are super popular and loved by both locals and tourists. You can catch a glimpse of the spectacular display from different spots in Oahu, like Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park.

The fireworks show is absolutely amazing, with live music and entertainment to make it even more special. It’s one of the biggest fireworks shows in Hawaii and is known for its grandeur.

When the clock strikes midnight, get ready to be dazzled for about 15-20 minutes as you watch the colorful explosions light up the sky. It’s an unforgettable experience that you don’t want to miss out on during your visit to Oahu!

P.S. Oahu is known to get a bit wild on New Year’s Eve. Meaning, there are a ton of residents shooting off fireworks across the island.

Looking for more Christmas in Hawaii guides? Check out our Christmas on Kauai and Christmas on the Big Island guides, along with our picks for the best Hawaiian Christmas Songs!

Christmas on Oahu FAQs

1. What are some popular Christmas activities on Oahu during the holidays?

Popular Christmas activities on Oahu during the holidays include visiting Honolulu City Lights, attending holiday parades and festivals, exploring decorated neighborhoods, and enjoying special holiday concerts and shows.

2. Are there any special Christmas events or markets on Oahu?

Yes, there are special Christmas events and markets on Oahu where you can find unique gifts, delicious treats, and festive entertainment. Some popular ones include the Honolulu Hale Craft Fair and Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace.

3. Are there any special dining options for Christmas on Oahu?

Yes, many restaurants on Oahu offer special menus or buffets for Christmas Day. It’s recommended to make reservations in advance as these dining options tend to be popular during the holiday season.

4. What is the weather like in Oahu during the Christmas season?

In December, the weather in Oahu is generally pleasant with average temperatures ranging from 70°F (21°C) to 80°F (27°C). However, it’s advisable to check local forecasts as weather conditions can vary throughout the island.

5. Where can I find Christmas lights in Waikiki?

You can find Christmas lights in Waikiki at various locations, including the Royal Hawaiian Center, Sheraton Waikiki, Waikiki Resort, and Hilton Hawaiian Village.

6. Are there any holiday events in Oahu?

Yes, there are several holiday events in Oahu. Some popular ones include the Waikiki Christmas parade, Hukilau Marketplace Christmas events, Waikiki trolley holiday lights tour, Polynesian Cultural Center holiday events, and live Christmas music at the Hawaii Theater.

7. What are some things to do for Christmas on Oahu?

There are plenty of things to do for Christmas on Oahu. You can attend holiday events, visit Christmas light displays, go shopping at the Royal Hawaiian Center or other shopping centers, enjoy live entertainment, participate in arts and crafts activities, take a trolley tour to see holiday lights, and experience the Christmas traditions of Hawaii.

8. Is there a Christmas parade in Waikiki?

Yes, there is a Christmas parade in Waikiki. The Waikiki Christmas parade is a popular event that features festive floats, marching bands, and performers.

9. Where can I see Hawaiian Christmas lights in Waikiki?

You can see Hawaiian Christmas lights in Waikiki at various locations such as the Royal Hawaiian Center, Sheraton Waikiki, Waikiki Resort, and Hilton Hawaiian Village.

10. Where can I find one of the best Christmas lights displays in Oahu?

One of the best Christmas lights displays in Oahu can be found at the Honolulu City Lights, where the entire downtown Honolulu area is beautifully decorated with festive lights.

11. Can you recommend a place to spend Christmas in Waikiki?

One place to spend Christmas in Waikiki is the Prince Waikiki. It offers a luxurious and festive atmosphere for guests to enjoy during the holiday season.

Christmas on Oahu Wrap Up 

Clearly, Oahu offers a plethora of activities during Christmas, particularly in Waikiki! Dive into these distinct Hawaiian Christmas customs for an unparalleled festive experience. Your family is sure to cherish Christmas in Hawaii!

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.