Haleakala christmas tree

Celebrating Christmas in the tropics can take some getting used to… if you are not originally from these parts. Going to the beach and basking in the sun in the dead of winter can be a ‘trip’ if you are used to bitterly cold days and inches of snow. But, Maui is diverse and there are still activities and holiday traditions you can keep going on Maui.

Picking and cutting down a Christmas Tree – Yes, you can do this on Maui! Just one day of the year on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas the Friends of Haleakala National Park open up an area bordering the national Park where invasive pines are growing (Monterrey Pine and Mexican Weeping Pine). Check out http://www.fhnp.org for more information the first week of December. This is a great thing to do with the kids and a great thing to do for the environment. Bring a saw and prepare to walk a steep incline but it is all worth it. This is definitely a Family tradition worth doing.

If you miss the day to cut down a free tree or just can’t wait, the most affordable place to get a Christmas tree on Maui is Walmart and The Home Depot. There is normally the choice of either a Douglas Pine (sheds needles but smells great) or the more expensive Noble (does not shed but also does not smell as good) – both are shipped here in containers from the west coast. If you want to get a fresher tree and have the budget you can drive Upcountry and go to a Christmas tree lot and pick out your tree from either the Kula Botanical Gardens, where they grow Monterey Pines on Kekaulike Avenue (878-1715) or at Upcountry Farm Specialties on Calasa Road in Kula (878-1468).

Gathering Wreath Materials -Hosmer’s Grove located just inside Haleakala National Park (near the summit) and Waihou Springs aka Olinda Forest 15 minutes up Olinda Road are both great places to go and find sprigs of pine, leaves and cones to bring home and make into a wreath. This is a tradition I do with my boys every Christmas Eve. It is often colder up there too so it is a great excuse to get the boots and scarves out. There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube on how-to-make a wreath. It is a beautiful family activity you can do together from foraging in the woods to creating the wreath and then finally hanging it proudly on the door.

Sledding- Yes, you can go sledding without snow, all you need is a steep hill and a good sturdy cardboard box. Rice Park (opposite Pumpkin Patch) off Lower Kula road is a fun place to go sledding. Helmets are recommended for the little ones as you/they can pick up some speed. This family activity coincided with drinking hot chocolate next to the big fireplace at Kula Lodge can make for another fun Christmas Eve tradition. What ever you decide to do I hope these tips help and that you have a beautiful Christmas and a magical Christmas Eve.

Image Credit: mauimama

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