Mele Kalikimaka! Christmas With Aloha!
by Bobbi Pack from MyMilitarySavings
When a “traditional” Christmas is mentioned, most people think of snow, snowball fights, hot cocoa, sweaters and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Hawaii might possibly be the last place to come to mind. Well, this year my family and I traded the hot cocoa and snow for the Aloha State!
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….in Hawaii, not so much, more like surfing, snorkeling, sailing, luaus, and Mai Tais on the beach. So, I ask you, can Christmas really be Christmas in Hawaii? You bet it can! Here is how my family and I spent Christmas in the Aloha state.
We arrived to a warm, humid airport..yes we left at 5:30 am 30 degrees and landed at 11:30 am 80 degrees (I guess my son wearing shorts wasn’t such a bad idea after all). Our first stop was…you guessed it baggage claim, they did not lose our luggage…whoohoo! I am always so scared I will arrive at my destination with no luggage, that would be a huge bummer! We jumped on the shuttle to our hotel and off we went. I have to be honest, I had this idea Hawaii would be totally different from Cali, well in the city—not so much. Waikiki looked a lot like downtown Sacramento. But, WAIT, then we arrived at the hotel, the hotel on the beach! The water was so blue, we were lucky enough to be on the 26th floor facing the beach, man-oh-man waking up and stepping outside to see sea turtles playing in the water…AWESOME!!!
Yes ladies and gentlemen this was going to be my view for the next eight days, I was A-Okay with that! We did not do much the first night, we were super tired from the trip so we hit the hotel lounge for some yummy drinks, Hawaiian music and fresh fish! Goodness, when you visit Hawaii, you MUST try the fish, this stuff is amazing…I have never had such fresh fish in my life!
The next day we went on a barefoot catamaran sail, this was one of my favorite activities…and, guess what there was a military discount! Here is a little hint for you when you are vacationing in Hawaii, even if they do not advertise a military discount, ASK! Yes, always ASK, odds are they do and just don’t advertise it to the public. So, my kiddos were free and my hubby and I were half price, not bad right!?!
OK, if you go to any Luau in Hawaii, go to Germaine’s Luau! This was by far the best one I have ever been to. Not only were the dancers amazing, they roasted a pig buried in the sand, the kiddos actually got to see them remove the pig from its natural oven…and, you guessed it that was part of the yummy buffet! The prices are spot on, you are right above the water on a private beach, and all their staff were amazing and so eager to assist. Here is a tip, you will receive several adult beverage tickets, go to the gift shop and purchase the souvenir glasses: ask for the military discount and you will only pay $16 for two. When you go to the bar to use your tickets, they will still fill you up for one ticket per drink, but the glass actually holds twice as much drink as the plastic cups they use otherwise… Two for the price of one..whoohoo! I recommend the drink called “Skittles,” trust me it’s super yummy!
Now, for some more fun! The next day we took the city bus (only $2.50 to ride) to Hanauma Bay. You will want to take a bus because the public parking fills up fast and they turning cars away…but not the busses! OK, you will hear it costs to visit Hanauma Bay and snorkel, well not for military! Kiddos 12 and younger are free as well as active duty military and their dependents, so yep this was a day of fun that cost us almost nada! You will need to bring snorkel gear or rent some there, I believe it was $9 each. But, let me tell you this was something I will never forget the water was so calm, clear and seeing all these beautiful, colorful fish up close was breathtaking!
Now, we took a tour of the island and it was worth every penny! We saw the entire island in one day…it was great to get out of the city of Waikiki and see what life was like in the ‘country’ as they call it. We saw the most amazing places…beautiful water, sites where movies were filmed, ate at some incredible food trucks, saw the Dole plantation and took pictures of the famous Hālona Blowhole…super awesome sites!
The most emotional, but amazing site was Pearl Harbor, if you skip anything in Hawaii, do not skip this. It’s hard to describe the feelings I felt inside when stepping off the boat onto the memorial. The entire experience was amazing, but don’t stop there, do use the military discount and go see the USS Missouri, this ship was incredible! I mean incredible HUGE! My hubby is a soldier, so he has never been on or seen a boat this size, he was amazed at the size and to think this is the same size of the USS Arizona, lying submerged under the memorial…wow just incredible!
I wish I had enough time to go into detail about everything we did, but then this would turn into a book…hum, maybe one day but not today. The last thing I would recommend is don’t forget to relax, soak in some sun and remember you are on Christmas vacation! I know my kids kept saying it doesn’t feel like Christmas, but hey, you can’t spend every Christmas in sweaters drinking hot cocoa. Every once in awhile you need to trade up for a swimsuit, sandy beach, tropical fish and lot of Aloha!
Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas!
Bobbi Pack is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Bobbi has over ten years experience in marketing and broadcast as well as a BA from Ottawa University and an MSM from Baker University. Bobbi has many years experience being a military spouse and loves to share her experiences, challenges and highlights with other military spouses.