It’s Christmas time in Hawaii! Vibrant red poinsettia blooms along the road sides. Refreshing trade winds make temperatures cool and the sounds of “Mele Kalikimaka” can be heard drifting out of shops. Here at Kuwili Lani, we believe there is a way to get in the holiday spirit while also being environmentally conscious and socially responsible. We can vote with the power of our dollar and shop local. From finding the perfect tree to gifts and entertainment, here’s our guide for how to celebrate a sustainable Christmas in Hawaii – Big Island style.
Find the perfect Christmas tree!
Do Christmas trees grow in Hawaii? You might be surprised, but they DO! While large retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco import a shipment of live Christmas trees every year, there’s something special and sustainable about cutting down your own locally grown tree.
Lucky for us at Kuwili Lani, we have a Christmas tree farm located just 7 miles away in Nīnole. The Hāmakua Christmas Tree Forest has beautiful, reasonably priced trees, with a 5 ft tree starting at $50. The owners Nancy and Rich Bradwell are friendly and will help you find the perfect tree.
They grow Portuguese Cyprus trees which have long fluffy needles, a nice Christmas-y aroma, and a lovely light green color. They also offer small and large potted trees which you can take home and plant. For your convenience, you can reserve and pay for a tree ahead of time on their website. Visit them at: 32-122 Piha Kahuku Rd, Ninole, HI 96773.
Shop for local gifts.
The nearby towns of Hilo, Honoka’a, and Waimea offer some excellent options for shopping local when it comes to holiday gifts. Shopping local is good for the environment and our island economy. From farmer’s markets to quaint independent shops and galleries, there’s plenty of options. Here’s a few of our favorite businesses to help you celebrate a more sustainable Christmas in Hawaii.
Shops and Galleries
The Gallery of Great Things offers beautiful and unique art and crafts made in Hawaii. From carved Koa wood pieces to jewelry, glass art, paintings, photographs, prints, rare Ni’ihau shell leis, and more. Located at 65-1279 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743.
Waimea General Store – this cute shop offers an assortment of made in Hawaii products like Hawaiian sea salt, Keawe honey, and mamaki tea. They also carry homewares, children’s toys, jewelry, and collectibles with a Hawaiiana theme. The kind of store you can browse for hours.
Big Island Grown – this great little shop carries an eclectic stock of items all made on the Big Island. Stop in and check them out. Located at 45-3626 Mamane St, Honokaa, HI 96727
Grace Flowers Hawaii – this florist shop offers everything you could want from custom holiday centerpieces and arrangements to lei and live seeds and plants. Contact them for a custom order or pop into their shop in downtown Honoka’a. Located at 45-502 Rickard Pl, Honokaa, HI 96727.
Big Island Candies – divine shortbreads, fudgy brownies, and chocolates, all wrapped up in a beautiful gift box. Visit their shop in Hilo (ask for samples!) or shop online. They offer easy online ordering and shipping to the mainland United States, Canada, and Japan. A great way to support local business and send a sweet taste of the islands to friends and family far away. Located at 585 Hinano St. Hilo, HI. 96720.
Waimea is home to some spectacular farmer’s markets which are great for gifts. Shop local at dozens of booths with arts, crafts, value added Hawaii agriculture products like coffee, tea, and honey, and so much more. Hawaii’s farmer’s markets are a social hub and a great place to meet people in your community.
Three of our favorite farmer’s markets in Waimea are:
The Waimea Town Market (Saturdays 7:30 am – 12 noon) Located at Parker School 65-1224 Lindsey Road, Waimea.
Kamuela Farmers Market (Saturdays 7:30 am – 12:30 pm) Located at historic Pukalani Stables 67-139 Pukalani Road Kamuela HI 96743.
Waimea Midweek Market (Wednesdays 9 am – 1 pm) Located at historic Pukalani Stables 67-139 Pukalani Road Kamuela HI 96743.
Enjoy some holiday entertainment.
Waimea Christmas Parade is the ultimate Hawaiian style Christmas parade. Thousands of people from all corners of the island converge in the town of Waimea for this epic parade every year! The parade runs from 5:30 to 7pm with hundreds of lit up floats. One of the best parts is the convoy of truckers who deck their big rigs in lights from top to bottom.
The parade is usually held the first weekend of December. Sadly, 2020 would have been the parade’s 60th year in operation, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. The next parade is scheduled for December 4th, 2021.
Due to its popularity, it’s recommended that you get there early to get a good spot to watch the parade and find a place to park. Attendees typically start arriving and setting up their chairs and tents around 11 am. So it’s really like an all day family-friendly Christmas tailgate.
Watch a short clip of the Waimea Christmas Parade here.
Waimea’s Kahilu Theatre offers awesome holiday entertainment during the month of December from concerts, plays, and hula shows. Look out for their “Christmas Calabash” where renown Kumu Hula (hula teachers) put on an incredible show with their students, from keiki (kids) to adults. Their costumes are amazing!
Happy Holidays from Kuwili Lani! We hope you enjoy a sustainable Christmas in Hawaii this year. Did we miss one of your favorite shops or businesses to support during the holiday season on the Big Island? Contact us and tell us about it!