The Christmas traditions of Hawaii is a labor of love and creativity. Hawaiians import their Christmas trees long before the season arrives from across the Pacific Ocean, which arrive on the Christmas Tree Ship. They look for the best grand firs, noble, and other popular varieties of fir or pine. Many grow their own trees in their backyard. More creative Hawaiians create Christmas trees by decorating the Palm trees for outdoor displays and they substitute Santa Claus’s sleigh and reindeers with an outrigger canoe and dolphins.
They also provide the elves with aloha shirts. With creative twists, the Christmas traditions of Hawaii become surprises each year. This way, Santa wears aloha shirts and the Holiday dinner is a community luau with a kalua roast pig and Christmasleis.
Before the arrival of Christianity, the forerunner to the Christmas traditions of Hawaii is the four-month New Year celebration of rest and feast to honor the earth called Makahiki. This period was Christianized into Christmas but retained Hawwaian flavors of candy, fruitcake, sushi, lumpia, tamales alongside turkey and roasted pork.
The Christmas carols are sung in Hawaiian and accompanied by ukulele or guitar by choirs and bands while families celebrate luaus and picnics on the beach or in their backyards. Those who go to the beaches wear Santa hats and leis to go with their shorts and bikinis. Even Santa Claus is a barefoot big man wearing Hawaiian clothes. Because Hawaiians love the spectacular, they put up thousands of lights on their vehicles and parade them through the streets, horns blaring and people flock the sidewalks to watch them go by.
The different cultures and ethnic groups that have settled in the islands celebrate the Christmas traditions of Hawaii in their own unique ways, which may be also religious or plainly secular. These celebrations are never without singing and hula with guitars and ukeleles. The beach is never far away after the Christmas meal where most go to swim or surf.