The Waikiki In­sider

Dec 2012/Jan 2013

Waikiki Magazine - - ILOVE WAIKIKI - By Mona Wood-Sword

MELE KA­LIKI­MAKA is the thing to say on a bright Hawai­ian Christ­mas Day. That’s the is­land greet­ing that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway. (from Mele Ka­liki­maka by R. Alex An­der­son)

Yes, we may not have a “White Christ­mas” here in Hawai‘i, but that doesn’t mean we lack for any­thing when it comes to hol­i­day spirit. Sure, Santa may ar­rive in a ca­noe, wear­ing a red and white aloha shirt, but the dec­o­ra­tions, hol­i­day mu­sic, gift shop­ping, and cel­e­bra­tions with loved ones abound in Waikiki as they do around the world this fes­tive time of year.


My fam­ily and I love driv­ing from Hil­ton Hawai­ian Vil­lage all the way to the New Otani Kaimana Beach Ho­tel on the Di­a­mond Head end of Waikiki dur­ing the hol­i­days to look at all the ho­tel dec­o­ra­tions. A cou­ple of high­lights for me are the Haleku­lani with its so­phis­ti­cated, ele­gant dé­cor and the Westin Moana Surfrider, which adds to its al­ready beau­ti­ful, his­toric en­trance with lights, boughs, rib­bons and poin­set­tias for a clas­sic Christ­mas.

At the end of Kalakaua Av­enue, we make the turn at the far cor­ner of Kapi‘olani Park and head back to­ward the cen­ter of Waikiki. We park at Royal Hawai­ian Cen­ter where we get the first hour of park­ing free and pay only $1 per hour for the next three hours when we pa­tron­ize any of their re­tail or restau­rant ten­ants. Best deal in town!

From there, we head on foot to visit the ho­tels in the area to check out their lobby dis­plays. Gi­ant, dec­o­rated trees, Christ­mas vil­lages with train sets, ginger­bread houses and even sand sculp­tures can be found on th­ese ex­cur­sions. Al­ways gets me into the hol­i­day spirit!!


Check Waikiki ho­tel and shop­ping cen­ter web­sites, or www.go­ for a list­ing of their mu­sic events dur­ing the hol­i­days. Most venues fea­ture free hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ment in De­cem­ber, open to kama‘aina and mal­i­hini alike.

And I think ev­ery­one should have at least


one Hawai­ian Christ­mas CD in his col­lec­tion. Some of them may not be avail­able in stores, but you may find them at My Per­sonal Top 10: Sea­sons of Love, Afa­tia Caz Christ­mas, Brothers Caz­imero Christ­mas in Hawai‘i, Danny Couch A Hawai­ian Christ­mas, Amy Hana­iali‘i Christ­mas in the Is­lands, The Hongo Fam­ily Wil­lie Ka­liki­maka, Wil­lie K Christ­mas Day in Hawai‘i Nei, Makaha Sons Hawai­ian Hol­i­days, Na Leo Maluhia, Keali‘i Re­ichel Hawai‘i’s Fa­vorite Christ­mas Songs,

Var­i­ous Artists

You don’t need me to tell you that shop­ping in Waikiki is lim­it­less—it’s all around you. Whether you’re on a tight bud­get or have deeper pock­ets than most of us, you’ll find the per­fect hol­i­day gift for ev­ery­one on your list right here in Waikiki. From de­signer duds to techie gad­gets, from a gift for your best friend to your im­pos­si­ble-to-shop-for boss (two words: gift card), and ev­ery­one in-be­tween, Waikiki has thou­sands of places to shop with seven ma­jor shop­ping cen­ters, ho­tel ar­cades, shops along Kalakaua and Kuhio Av­enues, as well as some hid­den trea­sures along many of our side streets.

Last year, I pro­cras­ti­nated and did all my shop­ping in one day—De­cem­ber 23rd—but, thanks to the fact that Waikiki’s pretty much al­ways “open for busi­ness,” I got it all done!


Waikiki, with its mul­ti­tude of ca­sual to five-star din­ing choices, is hol­i­day cen­tral for our ‘ohana. When I was a young girl, our large ex­tended fam­ily had huge potluck pic­nics at Queen’s Surf, the part of Waikiki Beach across from Honolulu Zoo. I learned to swim and surf there. Th­ese days, and es­pe­cially be­cause my cook­ing skills leave much to be de­sired, our new hang­outs are the restau­rants of Waikiki. It’s im­pos­si­ble for you to nav­i­gate your way to all the culi­nary gifts Waikiki has to of­fer on your own. As a former concierge at the old Hawai­ian Re­gent Ho­tel, I highly rec­om­mend ask­ing your ho­tel concierge for rec­om­men­da­tions. They are ex­perts at find­ing the right place for your taste buds and bud­get. They’ll prob­a­bly hate me for say­ing this, but even as a res­i­dent, I still call concierges for tips! They are al­ways on top of ev­ery­thing, so trust the pro­fes­sion­als.


Ring in 2013 with us in Waikiki! En­joy the fire­works from your ho­tel bal­cony, ocean view restau­rant, or find a spot on the beach. If you’re out­doors in Waikiki, you won’t miss it. The Waikiki Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (WIA) and its gen­er­ous mem­ber­ship put on this an­nual show, and as Hawai‘i en­joys the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the last ma­jor global lo­ca­tion to wel­come in the New Year, watch­ing the fire­works with your toes in the sand is a pretty cool way to cel­e­brate.

If you’re not in Waikiki for the New Year, I found this great site where you can view the fire­works live from Waikiki Beach:­beach­

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