What started out as a neighbourhood tradition has now turned into a town-wide event known as Festival of Lights which sees the historic area around Lihue decorated with thousands of lights every year.
- When? Throughout December.
- Where? Historical Monument and Gardens, Lihue, Kauai
- Price: free
Don't panic; if you see Santa on the tropical island of Kauai he hasn't gone AWOL after a night of sherry-fuelled debauchery. He's probably just popped over to this Hawaiian paradise for the annual Festival of Lights, the island's largest and most sparkling Christmas celebration.
While golden sand beaches, palm trees and turquoise oceans may not make you immediately think of Christmas, the local islanders are nevertheless determined to celebrate the festive season properly. Held over the whole of December, the festival - based around the historic gardens in Lihue - sees the area come alive with glittering lights and lanterns, multi-coloured installations and enough merriment to put the elves to shame. Lit-up areas are dedicated to specific local themes including the lighthouse and the 'aloha'. The festival is held in honour of late local resident 'Auntie Josie' whose house was always referred to as the 'Christmas House' thanks to her bright decorations. Today, the event has turned into an island-wide tradition, with festive stalls, food stands and cultural performances included too.
The highlight is day one, the grand switch on, which is accompanied by a sleigh entrance by Santa. So while the temperatures might be balmy, the atmosphere is very much one of cosy festivities. Of course if Santa does hit the tropical tipples too much on his visit you might want to help him in the direction of his sleigh. After all, he'll be pretty busy for the rest of the month.
- Get there: Fly into Kauai - Lihue airport is close to the lights so you could stop by on route to your hotel if you're staying further afield.
- Stay: Find a hotel in Lihue if you want to stay nearby, otherwise plan a stop at the lights into a trip around the island.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!