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How to Survive a Christmas in Hawaii

Updated on October 18, 2010

Have you ever thought about spending Christmas in Hawaii? Do tropical breezes, sunny skies, and mai tais on the beach sound like the makings of a perfect holiday vacation? Well, let me tell you, Christmas in Hawaii isn’t easy ... you need to have what it takes to survive.

It came in the mail the other day: a large glossy-paper catalog full of wasted advertising. You’d think L.L. Bean would just delete Hawaii addresses for their winter catalog, but they don’t. Pages upon pages of winter coats and flannel pajamas glare up at me in scornful mockery. One of these days, I might just buy a fleece-lined parka out of spite.

Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t like winter or winter clothing or winter catalogs. Actually, it’s the other way around. Those sappy pictures of smiling models hugging fleecy puppies around their way-too-perfect Christmas trees spark, not disgust, but jealousy. Well, I’m not exactly jealous ... I just ... love ... snow ... and cold ... white ... Christmases. OK, so I’ve said it. I like Christmas to be cold.

Christmas in Hawaii isn’t generally what you would call cold. I guess my blood’s thinned out by now, because I wear socks and sweatshirts if the temperature gets down to 70. But seriously, sunshine and palm trees on Christmas day? Yeah right.

But Christmas in Hawaii isn’t all that bad. Christmas is Christmas, no matter how warm. As long as the Christmas spirit is kept alive, tropical heat waves really don’t matter that much. I really mean that. I guess I can live another year without snow.


But since you're probably not desensitized to the heat like I am, I thought I'd help you out, if indeed you do decide to spend the holidays in the tropics, with some encouragement to be brave as well as some practical tips for survival. If Obama can survive a Christmas in Hawaii, so can you.

First off, I would like to encourage you to be yourself. Just because everyone around you is decked out in swimming trunks and snorkel gear doesn't mean you have to be. Follow in Santa's bootprints. Notice how calm he is in this picture, sitting outside in the balmy eighty degree weather, completely oblivious to the heat in his steadfast celebration of Christmas. He probably thinks that the sweat falling down his forehead is due to the fuzzy warm feeling in his heart.

Santa in Hawaii
Santa in Hawaii

Get out your winter wardrobe. Although close-toed shoes are nearly prohibited in the Hawaiian islands, Christmas socks look just as good with flip-flops.

socks in your slippahs
socks in your slippahs

Something I like to do when I'm getting the no-snow blues is to order one of those holiday-flavored coffees from that coffee chain that is omnipresent even in Hawaii. Take warning that hot coffee will raise your body temperature, so you may want to either order a cold one, or turn up the air conditioning.

Making gingerbread houses is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. I mean, what could be better than a house made of candy? Gingerbread houses in Hawaii are even better because you have to eat them the very day of construction to prevent the candy from melting.

gingerbread house
gingerbread house

Set the mood with holiday music. Sing along to the Twelve Days of Christmas, Hawaiian Style. Ukuleles and grass skirts are required.

 So what if Christmas tree farms are nonexistent in Hawaii...decorate a palm tree! To create an evergreen scent, just light one of those scented candles. Please note: you may want to remove the coconuts before setting up your tree.

decorated palm trees
decorated palm trees

Considering that candy canes melt at room temperature in Hawaii, you may want to invest in some unmeltable Hawaiian-themed ornaments.

The best thing about Christmas in Hawaii is that you can still go to beach. Just don't go swimming if the water looks like this.

winter waves in Hawaii
winter waves in Hawaii

When at the beach, make a Christmas-themed sand sculpture to memorialize your dedication to Christmas in all climate conditions. No ice picks required.

Christmas sand sculpture
Christmas sand sculpture

Ring a bell and then give a sand angel her wings. Making sand angels is actually a lot of fun. An added benefit to making angels in the sand rather the snow is the exfoliation for your skin. Free spa treatment!

sand angel
sand angel

Learn how to say "Mele Kalikimaka" which is Hawaiian for "Merry Christmas." There's a song for that too. May-lay Ka-lee-kee-mah-kah. By the way, I love Ingrid Michaelson's voice.

Could you spend Christmas in Hawaii?

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