How do Hawaiians get in the Christmas spirit? With a festive parade, a gift fair, a gingerbread creation and a colorful tree.
In December, at least 17 Oahu communities will celebrate with parades, and visitors are welcome to join in.
Saturday will mark the return of the West Oahu Holiday Electric Light Parade to Kapolei, about 25 miles northwest of Waikiki. The procession, which will include 40 units -- two marching bands will take part too -- begins at 6 p.m. at the Kapolei Fairgrounds and travels to the Kapolei Hale (city hall) for a 7 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony. Live entertainment, fireworks and food vendors round out the activities.
On Dec. 21, the Manoa Community Christmas Parade kicks off at 5 p.m. Four bands and 800 marchers are expected, along with floats and vehicles. The starting point is the Noelani School, 2655 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, just 15 minutes from Waikiki.
A complete list of holiday parades is available online.
For slightly more stationary activities, employees of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach will show off their baking skills during a gingerbread display starting Monday and continuing until Dec. 20. Viewing the culinary masterpieces is free.
Visitors and locals flock to the Honolulu Gift Fair Dec. 20-22 at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Center. It features plenty of last-minute gifts (and souvenirs), many of which are made in Hawaii. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item to support the Hawaii Food Bank.
Throughout the season, the grounds of Honolulu City Hall are a gathering spot. A colorful, 50-foot-tall tree forms the centerpiece of the Yuletide celebration, which continues through Jan. 2 at 530 S. King St.