collage of Christmas in Polynesia at the Hukilau Marketplace

Christmas time on the North Shore is a magical place. First off, you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Second, you get to really experience Christmas ‘island style’. We have compiled a list of activities and suggestions to make your Christmas season warm, bright and full of aloha.


Photo of live nativity at The Polynesian Cultural Center

Come see a live nativity at the Hukilau Marketplace

Hukilau Marketplace/Polynesian Cultural Center

Come to the biggest seasonal celebration across the North Shore in beautiful La’ie. And best of all, these events are free to the public! New activities and events are scheduled this year. Most activities will be held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from December 1–16th and Monday through Saturday December 18-23rd, 2017. The Hukilau Marketplace is situated at the entrance to the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center. It is packed full of shops, a variety of food trucks and Pounders, one of the highest rated restaurants in the area.

Scheduled activities:

  • A magical array of lights, trees and decorations will be on display starting December 1st;
  • Enjoy a live nativity manned by various groups from across the North Shore. Every evening has its own magic. Located on the Hukilau Marketplace lawn. Starting at 6:30p;
  • Have you heard that they are predicting snow in Laie this December? That’s right…SNOW in Hawaii!!! Don’t worry – our annual Keiki Snow Day is always a hit (or make that a number of hits from all those fluffy snowballs!). This year our event is scheduled for Saturday – Dec 2nd, and Fridays, Dec. 8th and 22nd, from 3 – 7p (warm shoes and gloves HIGHLY recommended);
  • Enjoy a magical and FREE Christmas train for the kiddos winding through the many Christmas lights out in front of the Marketplace, starts at 6:30p;
  • Run around finding the 12 days of a Hawaiian Christmas throughout the Marketplace as you play our popular scavenger hunt starting at 6:30p;
  • Here’s your chance to meet the coolest Santa on the island. Bring your handheld/camera and Santa’s helpers will take the picture for you (no charge);
  • Musical performances from a variety of Oahu based artists at the marketplace gazebo throughout the season from 6 – 7p.

  For more information, see the Hukilau Marketplace events page



2016 Triple Crown Winner, John John Florence photo courtesy of SURFER Magazine

2016 Triple Crown Winner, John John Florence – photo courtesy of SURFER Magazine

World Famous Surf Competitions

Christmas time is hardly boring on the North Shore. During the winter, the waves along the north shore are best described as ‘gnarly’. It’s the season to watch the pros conquer mountains of rolling walls of water. Trust us, it’s an experience like no other:

Billabong Pipeline Masters

Dec. 8 – 20, 2017

December brings one of the most popular and anticipated surf contests in the world held on one of the most famous beaches in the world!  Welcome to the Billabong Pipe Masters held at Bonzai Pipeline! The tournament is scheduled from Dec 8 – 20th.

Surf contests are unlike most athletic events because it may take days to even get started. You have to wait for the right waves. So keep an eye on the news every morning and be ready to head on over the moment the announcer says ‘it’s on!’ Sure it’s a little bit of an effort, but it’s an experience of a lifetime. By the way, the beach is actually called Ehukai. It’s the beautiful curling set of waves out a few hundred feet from the shoreline that they call Pipeline.

Vans World Cup of Surfing

Nov. 25 – Dec. 6, 2017

The second event of the Vans Triple Crown, the Vans World Cup displays the fierce talent and athleticism of surfers as they navigate the shifting lineup of Sunset Beach, home of one of the best and most consistent big waves on the planet. The pace is fast, furious and full of adventure.

33rd Annual Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational

In Memory of Eddie Aikau

Dec. 1, 2017 – Feb. 28, 2018

Although it is scheduled each year, this elite contest is rarely held, because at Waimea Bay, the conditions must be PERFECT!  Held in memory of Eddie Aikau, The Eddie can only run when the surf measures at least 20 feet (Hawaiian scale) for a full day. The minute it’s a go, tens of thousands of people will converge on this little spot on the North Shore, so come early and be prepared for one of the most heart stopping competitions in surfing.

photo of Christmas time at the Laie LDS Visitors Center north shore Christmas

Christmas time at the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors Center              photo courtesy of Mike Foley

Christmas Fireside – Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors Center 

Held Sundays from Nov. 26 – December 17, 2017 at the entrance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) Laie Hawaii Temple, Laie, Oahu

6:30 – 8:00p

Every Sunday you can enjoy a beautiful musical presentation from various groups, including the Koolauloa Children’s Choir, always a big hit of the season. Concerts start at 6:30p, but we suggest you come early to get a seat! While there, enjoy the annual Christmas tree display at the LDS Visitors Center where various congregations on the island of Oahu provide a Christmas tree beautifully decorated with gospel motifs set around the Visitors Center.

photo of Haleiwa Town Christmas Parade photo courtesy of Beyond Honolulu north shore Christmas

Haleiwa Town Christmas Parade                photo courtesy of Beyond Honolulu

17th Annual Haleiwa Town Christmas Parade

Friday, December 8, 2017

6 – 7p

Come enjoy a good old fashioned country parade, island style sponsored by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce!  The route runs right along Kamehameha Hwy (the main road through Haleiwa). Aloha abounds at this annual parade filled with keikis (children,) music and holiday love. There’s only one road in, and one road out – so come VERY early, park your car and find a place to park yourself. Not to worry, there will be plenty to see, do and eat!


photo of BYUH University Chorale photo courtesy of Mike Foley

BYUH University Chorale photo courtesy of Mike Foley

University Christmas Concert at BYU – Hawaii

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017

7:30 – 9:00p

McKay Auditorium

This annual concert is sure to warm your heart while you cool your heels in air conditioned comfort featuring various choirs, musical ensembles, guest presentations and the University Chorale led by Professor Michael Belnap.

picture of buffet at Turtle Bay north shore Christmas

Turtle Bay’s spectacular Christmas Buffet      Photo courtesy of Honolulu Magazine

Turtle Bay Holiday Dining

Dec. 23, 25 and 31, 2017

Celebrations are a cut above at the Turtle Bay Resort. Each of the restaurants (Lei Leis, The Point, Roys on the Beach, Kula Grille and Pa’akai) are known for their excellent cuisine, and during the holidays, Turtle Bay offers buffets fit for royalty. Here are four of the celebrations listed on the Turtle Bay holiday events calendar:

Nov. 23 Thanksgiving Day Brunch

Dec. 16 Makaha Kalikimaka featuring the Makaha Sons

Dec. 25 Christmas Day Buffet with Santa

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Party

Make sure and make your dinner reservations early!  808.293.6020

photo of couple with horses from Gunstock Ranch

Take a evening dinner trail ride in paradise        photo courtesy of Gunstock Ranch

Gunstock Ranch Horseback Riding Dinner 

Picture a holiday activity like no other – Gunstock Ranch went all out to bring you the ultimate experience with a dream-like ride with stunning views, a Hawaiian sunset and dinner by campfire. Trust us, whether you are looking for romance, family time, or just a great get together, it doesn’t get any better than this 2.5-hour experience with a delicious meal catered by Pounders Restaurant. Couples, families and small groups can be scheduled throughout the week. This and other options are available at Gunstock Ranch, 808-341-3995, Conveniently located between Laie and Kahuku. Reservations are required, closed Sundays as well as Christmas Eve and Day.

Nina S Jones

Nina S Jones



Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 40+ years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of this amazing world.