Photo: Napua Heen /

Photo: Napua Heen /

It’s Christmas in Hawaiʻi. The sun is shining. The skies are blue. And the Christmas tree has been trimmed at Honolulu Hale.


Photo: Napua Heen /

Shaka Santa has slipped off his snow boots while Mrs. Claus, also known as Tūtū Mele, is dressed in her favorite muʻumuʻu (dress) and wearing her beloved Hawaiian bracelet. Yup, it’s Christmas time in Hawaiʻi.

2019 Honolulu City Lights

Every year, Honolulu Hale (Honolulu’s city hall, pronounced Honolulu Hah-leh) in Downtown Honolulu puts on a month long Christmas lights and decorations display.  Highlights include the large outdoor tree, Shaka Santa and Tūtū Mele, the indoor tree display and the corridor of wreaths. The Honolulu City Lights, as it is called, kicks off with an electric light parade and tree lighting ceremony during the first weekend in December and runs through January 1st of the next year.

The 2019 opening night is Saturday, December 7, 2019. Festivities run through Wednesday, January 1, 2020, including Christmas and New Years holiday’s.

See the Honolulu City Lights website for a list of free activities and events. There are also food vendors and children’s rides at cost.

Welcome to Honolulu Hale

You will be greeted by 21 foot tall Shaka Santa and his wife, Tūtū Mele, as well as the 50 foot Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree gracing the lawn in front of Honolulu Hale. Shaka Santa has been a Christmas fixture here since 1989. Tūtū Mele and the other decorative characters joined the scene in the early 1990s. The Norfolk Pine is decorated with specially made Christmas Ornaments, one for each new year. Smaller versions of these specialty ornaments can be purchased as keepsakes. The keepsake ornaments are made from brass, nickel and 24k gold.

Indoor Tree Display

Photo: Napua Heen /

Photo: Napua Heen /

Entering the arched doorways of Honolulu Hale, you will come upon an inner courtyard of festively decorated Christmas trees. Every year the various municipal departments of the City & County each decorate a tree. Themes range anywhere from “Candy Land” to “Avengers” to “Minions,” creating a magical Enchanted Forest.

Look for Hawaii-themed Ornaments

Photo: Napua Heen /

Paddle Boarder Photo bottom right: Honolulu Star-Advertiser. All other photos: Napua Heen /

This is a great place to look for Hawaii-themed Christmas decor. For example, nowhere else in the world will you see spam musubi ornaments adorning Christmas trees. We’ve also spotted standup paddle boarder ornaments representing one of Hawaiʻi’s most popular water sports.

Corridor of Wreaths

Photo: Napua Heen /

Photos: Napua Heen /

An annual wreath contest results in a creative Holiday Wreath Exhibit. It showcases fine craftsmanship and local interpretations of Christmas.  For example, look for ocean themes such as jellyfish, “reef walker” slippers, and an outrigger canoe.

Merrymaking at Honolulu Hale

Honolulu Hale is located at 530 South King Street. Parking is available just around the corner in the underground municipal parking garage accessed through Alapai St. Street parking is also available in the area.

Arguably the best Christmas attraction in the islands, the Honolulu City Lights at Honolulu Hale is magical.  Enjoy the festivities of the holiday season!