Every winter, revelers from across the globe journey to Kauai to celebrate the holidays, island-style. Kauai is the perfect spot to step outside of the rigors of day-to-day life and connect with your loved ones in the spirit of love, gratitude and togetherness that defines the holiday season. Things move more slowly here, and the holidays on Kauai have all of the usual festive fanfare and very little of the frazzled, frantic feeling that taints the season in other locales. The laid-back style that defines the islands enhances holiday celebrations by allowing everyone to truly relax and enjoy one another, the gentle climate and the breathtaking beauty of paradise.
While Kauai will never have a white Christmas, several annual events are designed to infuse residents and visitors with holiday cheer. Waimea Town holds its annual Christmas tree lighting on December 1st. The residents of this little cowboy town go wild with the lights, and you’ll definitely want to drive through before the season is out. Instead of fighting your way through a crowded mall, do your holiday shopping at “Christmas in the Garden” from 9:30-3:30 on Sunday, December 2nd. Located in Poipu at the National Tropical Botanical Garden visitor center, this free event features Kauai-made products, jewelry, local food and live music set among 10 acres of lush tropical flowers, plants and trees. On December 7th the annual Lights on Rice parade begins at 6:00pm in Lihue. The parade features lighted floats and local bands. It culminates in a performance of holiday songs by the Kauai Chorale, and the official countdown to Lihue’s Festival of Lights. A true Kauai tradition, the Festival of Lights began some 50 years ago when local folk artist Auntie Josie Chansky began creating one-of-a-kind holiday decorations from simple materials. Friends and neighbors began visiting her house every year to view her magnificent creations. In 1997 her displays were moved to the Kauai County Building, and the Festival of Lights has become a local holiday tradition. Auntie Josie passed away in 2009, but her lovingly crafted works of art are still proudly on display, along with many island-themed pieces created by talented volunteers. In Kauai, we celebrate with hula, and two holiday hula extravaganzas will ring in the season this year. December 9th’s Holiday Hula Celebration at the Grand Hyatt Resort will feature over 150 dancers and musicians. The Kauai Christmas Hula Concert on December 17th at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall will showcase the talents of 75-plus adult and keiki dancers, with local crafts and food available in the lobby. The Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade begins at 6:00 on December 18th. The parade route ends at Hofgaard Park near the center of town where the fun will continue with live music and free beverages, baked goods and treats.
Thanksgiving and Christmas day find most local businesses closed, aside from the activity companies and resorts. A typical Kauai holiday might begin with a morning adventure, perhaps a boat tour to snorkel and look for whales, an invigorating hike or a peaceful kayak up a slow-moving river. Afterwards, bit of beach time is in order, and it is always fun to make your holiday calls to the mainland from the sundrenched sand. Finally, gather the family together for a decadent holiday meal, either in the comfort of your home, at an elegant resort buffet, or island-style on the beach. The beauty and serenity of Kauai mixes perfectly with the spirit of the season to create holiday memories you will cherish forever. Complete your holiday in Kawaii by renting one of the finest Hawaii luxury homes.