Is Christmas a Good Time to Visit Hawaii? | With Pros and Cons

If you’re looking for somewhere warm to spend the holidays, you might be wondering ‘Is Christmas a good time to visit Hawaii?’. Well, the answer is a resounding yes! Below we will explain why December is a good time to visit Hawaii, what the atmosphere is like in Hawaii over Christmas and why you should get planning your Christmas trip to Hawaii right now!

Is Christmas A Good Time To Visit Hawaii?

christmas on the beach hawaii

Christmas is a great time to visit Hawaii as the islands’ tropical climate means they offer delightful weather year-round. Not only this but you get to spend Christmas day on the beach, swim in warm waters and see festive poinsettias in their natural habitat.

However, it is worth noting that Christmas is the busiest and therefore, the most expensive time to visit Hawaii

Read on to discover why Hawaii is an excellent place to spend the festive period and what you’ll need to do to have the best experience.

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History Of Christmas In Hawaii

It is thought that the first Christmas was celebrated in Hawaii in 1786 when George Dixon, captain of the merchant ship, the Queen Charlotte, and his crew, enjoyed a Christmas dinner of a whole roast pig while docked in the port of Kauai!

Christmas celebrations only later came to the Hawaiian Islands in around 1820, when Protestant missionaries arrived and brought with them the importance of the religious festival.

However, despite this relatively late start, Hawaii certainly makes the most of the festive period. Honolulu features city lights and a giant Christmas tree, wreaths are used to decorate, and there is plenty of festive cheer in the air.
Hawaii also has some alternative features to their festive season, including using images of Santa Claus in a Hawaiian shirt with his sleigh being an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins!

Surfing and swimming are popular activities on Christmas Day, with locals and tourists alike flocking to the beach either before or after their main family meal.

What Is The Weather Like in Hawaii Over Christmas?

Hawaii offers something for everyone, from basic shacks on the beach to swanky five-star resorts and everything in between. This is ideal, as all types of travellers are catered for, and figuring out your budget will help you choose an island and more specifically a beach, town or resort that is right for you.

Thankfully, airfare to and from Hawaii, and around the islands, has become much more competitive in the past few years, meaning that a trip to paradise doesn’t have to break the bank.

The larger islands of O’ahu and Big Island are thought to be the cheapest options as they have a diverse range of accommodation as well as larger airports which can offer more affordable national/international flights. The more remote you get, the higher the prices, so Maui, Kauai, and Lanai tend to be more expensive options.

If you’re trying to save, you might want to consider travelling in the shoulder seasons, flying on a weekday and booking hostels well in advance. You’ll also want to think about eating cheap while you’re in Hawaii as well as making the most of free outdoor activities such as hiking and beach time.

Sticking to one island instead of jetting around a number of different spots will inevitably save you money, as will choosing smaller hotels or Airbnbs as opposed to large resorts or chain hotels.

If the sky is the limit with your budget, then you can choose to visit as many islands as you wish. Perhaps you might find the next few prompts more helpful in deciding on the best way to visit Hawaii.

What Is The Weather Like in Hawaii Over Christmas?

While Hawaii has the wettest weather in December, is still offers a fantastic climate for those seeking a vacation. Hawaii is a tropical country, which means year-round sunshine and warmth with some epic downpours in between during rainy season. Having tropical downpours means that there is a lot of rainfall, but because it often comes in one go, you’re unlikely to receive days upon days of rain as you may do elsewhere in the world December!

It’s worth noting that while December is the wettest month in Hawaii, Big Island tends to have its own microclimate and therefore is much drier than other islands at this time.
Temperatures in Hawaii in December usually sit in the mid-80s (Fahrenheit)/mid 20s (Celsius) during the day and drop down towards the 60s (Fahrenheit)/teens (Celsius) in the evening. This means that you can happily sunbathe during the dry parts of the day and you’ll probably only need a light jacket or sweater in the evening.

Thanks to Hawaii’s tropical climate, the country is in full bloom year-round, with different plants and flowers shining at different times of the year. December is the time for the poinsettia a plant that has become somewhat synonymous with Christmas despite growing in a pot back home rather than blooming outdoors like they do in Hawaii.

Is Christmas in Hawaii Busy?

Christmas and New Year are some of the busiest times of year to visit Hawaii as many people like to combine their vacation with celebrating the festive period. Hotels, therefore, get booked up well in advance, and if you know you want to visit Hawaii for Christmas, it’s best to get planning right away.

Early December is a relatively quiet and inexpensive time to travel, but from around the 20th December until into the New Year Hawaii’s hotels and beaches become pretty busy.
As the festive period is the busiest time, and most hotels will be at full capacity, it’s worth noting that dining reservations, spa appointments and golf tee times are also likely to get booked in advance so you’ll want to make plans and reservations well before you arrive.

Is Christmas in Hawaii Expensive?

As the Christmas period is peak season for Hawaii tourism, hotel prices tend to rise accordingly. It is thought that hotel prices jump by around $100 per night over Christmas and New Year compared to other major holidays in the US (which are already more expensive than standard dates).

Many of the luxury hotels in Hawaii also have a 10-night minimum stay over the festive period, which will, of course, end up being much more expensive than a quick weekend break.

Aside from hotels, other prices in Hawaii such as food and activities are likely to stay the same, although some hotels and restaurants may offer set menus for Christmas and New Year events which will be relatively expensive.

Car hire will also be popular during this time so you’ll want to book well in advance to get the best deal.

What Is The Atmosphere Like In Hawaii Over Christmas?

Despite being a sunny destination, Hawaii still goes all out with their Christmas decorations. Towns and hotels put up special holiday decorations to bring a warm and welcoming atmosphere to the island.

The Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki puts on impressive Christmas displays in the Royal Grove throughout the holidays, and the seeing Strolling Santa at the International Market Place dressed in beach gear is fun for all the family!
Hawaii’s island churches also have a number of Christmas Eve services so that you don’t miss out on candlelight celebrations despite being on vacation.

As there is so much going on in Hawaii over Christmas and New Year, there is always a buzz about the place which will really add to your holiday experience.

happens annually in the historic Honolulu

What Can I Expect From Christmas Dinner In Hawaii?

Most hotels and restaurants that are open on Christmas Day in Hawaii offer a set menu of three or four courses. The menus vary greatly depending on the island and restaurant but on the whole, they make the most of the state’s fantastic fresh seafood, serving up delicacies like oysters, scallops and lobster.

Alternatively, you might want to enjoy a Christmas brunch or one of the incredible Christmas Buffets that allow you to graze on starters, salads, soups, seafood, mains and desserts to your heart’s content. These are a great option if you are travelling with your family or as part of a group as then everyone’s tastes can be catered for.

While you are unlikely to get a traditional British turkey dinner at any of the Hawaiian restaurants, you’ll be sure to have a meal to remember!

Should I Visit Hawaii For New Year's Eve?

If you’re planning on visiting Hawaii for Christmas, you might be wondering whether you should extend your trip and stay on until New Year.
New Year’s Eve is another of the best times to visit Hawaii as many of the islands and resorts put on epic fireworks displays to ring in the New Year.

Waikiki Beach hosts a music-timed fireworks display, the Party of the Year on Oahu boasts fireworks from 9 pm onwards, Big Island resorts often offer on-site parties and dining, and South Maui is the place to be to see New Year fireworks on Maui.

If you choose to spend New Year in Hawaii you won’t be disappointed, just don’t forget to wish everyone a Happy New Year by saying Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

So, there you have it, everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii for Christmas!

If you just want to give the gift of a Hawaiian vacation for Christmas but don’t necessarily need or want to visit over the Christmas season itself, you might be better off travelling at a different time of year to save money and to enjoy the islands at a quieter time. However, if you love the idea of being in a bustling destination with loads of Christmas decorations over the festive period but want a sunnier climate, then Hawaii could be a perfect choice for you.

Staying at one of the more well-known and luxurious properties in Hawaii over the Christmas period will set you back a big chunk of money and will need to be booked well in advance (usually more than a year in advance!), but you’re sure to have a festive vacation to remember!

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