Christmas on Kauai is definitely different to Christmas in most of the US and Europe. The main thing is that there’s no snow and it’s warm! I moved here from Boulder, CO where Chritmasses were snowy and you know… as they are supposed to be on the Xmas card. It’s taken awhile to get used to Christmas in the sun on Kauai!
Mele Kalikimaka! That’s Happy Christmas in Hawaiian so if you are coming to Kauai for Xmas, you will see and hear that a lot. Even though we are in the tropics, the Hawaiians love Xmas too so it’s a big deal : people decorate their homes just like everywhere else and the stores go to town right after Thanksgiving with Xmas decorations gifts…. consumerism thrives here too.
Christmas Trees & Santa
Even Xmas trees! Yep! You can get your Pine trees everywhere from Home Depot to Walmart. And people do. These days, we just bring in some ferns and palm leaves from outside and decorate those.
For the Keiki (children) Santa can be found at the Kukui Grove Mall in Lihue open almost every day, certainly from the second half of December from 11am on. Details and full times here. Located in Suite B1 next to the Keiki Korner play area. They also have a show every night from 7 – 7.30 with Lights, dancing and more.
Festival of Lights
The Kauai Historic County Building features lights that have become a staple on Kauai. You can view them every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December and visit Santa on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday coming up to Xmas and Christmas Eve from 6 – 8pm . Details here.
The Lights and displays are truly wonderful and quite magical…. especially for the Keiki.
We have those too. Starting around the second week of December through to Christmas Eve. Check Midweek Kauai or the Community Calendar at the Garden Island for details. If you are at a resort or timeshare, they will probably have details.
Christmas services abound and those two will be listed in the community calendars but check with your particular Faith to see what’s going on here. There appears to be every Christian denomination on island as well as Hindu, Buddhist and other open spiritual practices. The Ancient Hawaiians spirituality is a very beautiful thing. They celebrate Solstice rather than Xmas. But most Hawaiians who practice the ancient ways also celebrate Xmas.
If you’re looking for a place to have Christmas Dinner, then check out my Kauai Guide for a list of restaurants. If you are looking for a special treat, I recommend JO2 in Kapa’a, Bar Acuda or Ama in Hanalei, Merriman’s in Poipu. Otherwise, get some local fish and replace Turkey with Fish…. go Hawaiian for Xmas!
So what to do on Christmas Day? The thing is; having been here for 19 years I can’t remember a Xmas that wasn’t sunny! Most of us are sitting around wishing it would be rainy or cold or more “Christmassy” . but it’s usually sunny and dry! So what else to do but give in to the fact that you’re on Kauai and go to the beach! Yep Christmas on Kauai is really about going to the beach and just relaxing under a palm tree. You can do the Christmas dinner thing later in the evening, then it doesn’t matter that it’s warm.