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Hawaii's 2023 Christmas & New Year's: Island Festivities

Hawaii's 2023 Christmas & New Year's: Island Festivities
As of December 16th, 2023, Hawaii is buzzing with festive spirit and unique events, embracing the warmth and multicultural vibrancy that characterize its Christmas and New Year celebrations. Each island offers a distinct array of festivities, catering to various interests and age groups. Oahu is bustling with activities. The Festival of Lights Boat Parade at the Hawaii Kai Marina on December 16th is a highlight, featuring a parade that journeys through the marina from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The island's largest celebration, Honolulu City Lights, began on December 2nd and runs nightly until December 31st, centered around a 50-foot Norfolk Pine Christmas tree and a corridor of lights down King and Punchbowl streets. Santa's arrival at the Outrigger Waikiki, although pending confirmation, is another anticipated event, usually taking place on the second Saturday of December. The Polynesian Cultural Center's Christmas at the Hukilau Marketplace is another key attraction, though specific plans for 2023 are yet to be announced. Maui presents a more intimate experience. Post the Lahaina wildfire, the community's resilience shines through, with opportunities for volunteerism during the holiday season. The Grand Wailea starts "Tis the Season of Aloha" in December, with Santa arriving on Christmas Eve, and the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is expected to host a special Christmas Eve Lu'au, though details for 2023 are pending. Kauai offers the Festival of Lights in Historic County Building Park from November 28th to January 1st, 2024, and the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade on December 16th. This less touristy island is known for its smaller, more localized events, such as hula shows and local celebrations. Big Island hosts numerous events, including the Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade and the Kalikimaka Lighted Boat Parade. The Nutcracker performance by West Hawaii Dance Theatre on December 23rd is a cultural treat, while Christmas Eve services at Mokuaikaua Church offer a blend of hula, songs, and candle lighting. A unique aspect of Hawaiian Christmas is the tradition of leaving Malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) for Santa instead of cookies. These treats are a local favorite, especially from places like Leonard’s Bakery. In addition to these events, Hawaii's holiday season is also the start of the whale-watching season, a must-see from December through March. Maui is particularly noted for its high density of migratory humpback whales. Traveling to Hawaii during this period is popular, leading to crowded airports, limited availability of rentals, and higher hotel rates. Early December is recommended for travel to avoid these issues. Despite December being the rainiest and coldest month in Hawaii, temperatures are still mild, averaging around 70 degrees, offering a pleasant holiday experience compared to colder climates. For those looking for holiday gifts, a visit to the Shaka Time store is a must. Shaka Time offers a variety of unique Hawaiian gifts that are perfect for sharing the aloha spirit during the holiday season. Each Hawaiian island wraps up the year with its unique charm and array of festivities, making Hawaii a truly special place to celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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