Planning to spend this Christmas holiday on Maui? You’ll find the island decked out in lights, ornaments and Christmas cheer. Maui really knows how to celebrate the holidays with warmth and Aloha.
Of course with COVID-19 in our midst, Christmas events will be different and more subdued this year. Restrictions are in place that require social distancing. Everyone must wear a mask when in public — even Santa!
Maui is still in the process of restarting tourism after months of essentially being closed. With all that said, Maui is always a magical place to be, in spite of restrictions. There are still some fantastic things to see and do this Christmas in Maui.
As you’re making your Christmas vacation plans, we want to give you some fun and meaningful ideas to celebrate the holiday season with Maui-style. Here are our suggestions for the top things to do for Maui Christmas 2020:
1. See Lahaina’s famous banyan tree wrapped in Christmas lights
The sprawling banyan tree is wrapped in thousands of Christmas lights. Where else but in Maui will you find such a sight as this one? The banyan tree is located off Front Street in Lahaina town. For parking near the banyan tree, we recommend the free parking lot off of Prison Street. The tree will be lit nightly throughout the holiday season.
Christmastime is a special time to shop in Maui. Consider buying locally made crafts and artwork for gifts. Where are unique places to shop on Maui? Lahaina’s Front Street and side streets have lots of shops. We also like Whalers Village in Kaanapali and the Shops at Wailea in Wailea. For other Maui shopping experiences, check out the shops in Paia. If you want to experience a cooler climate, go upcountry to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Makawao where you can browse through unique shops and visit the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. If you’re looking for the big box stores, you can find them in Kahului.
3. Attend a Christmas Church Service
Due to COVID-19, some churches have moved to virtual services or scattered services to better limit group sizes to allow social distancing. In the meantime, here’s what’s caught our eye so for 2020 Christmas services:
- Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in Lahaina is holding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day mass.
- Hope Chapel in Kihei welcomes visitors for Christmas Candlelight services in their outdoor courtyard. These special Christmas services will be held on December 19, 20 and 21. Check their webpage for dates and times.
- Kumulani Chapel in Kapalua holds Christmas Eve service at 4pm and at 6pm. See this link for more information.
When you arrive on Maui, pick up a copy of the Maui News as Christmas Eve approaches. They’ll have more information about church services across Maui. Additionally, ask your concierge if they know of services that will be near to where you’re staying.
4. See Santa Claus as he visits Maui
Santa normally makes a few quick visits to Maui before heading back to the North Pole to load up his sleigh. He must be extra busy in 2020 because, so far the only visit he’s planned is:
- On Christmas Eve, Santa arrives by outrigger canoe at Wailea Beach in front of the Grand Wailea. See this link for more information.
- Other visits TBD
5. Enjoy a Christmas feast
Many resorts across Maui will offer scrumptious multi-course dinners and/or buffets with menus specially designed for the holidays. Most hotel-based restaurants will be open. Check directly with your hotel for details. One quick source to search for restaurant availability online is via OpenTable. (Make sure you customize the search criteria.) I recommend you make reservations as soon as possible.
Down The Hatch in Lahaina is hosting their 6th annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Eve and Christmas Day event. Check for details here.
The Maui News has a list of restaurants that are offering special Christmas dinners. They also list Maui restaurants which are offering Christmas meals to-go. See this link for their list.
We recommend you speak to your hotel’s concierge for more options that will be held onsite or nearby your accommodation. Also, pick up a copy of the Maui News when you are on island for additional restaurants and holiday activity suggestions.
We hope you’ll have a wonderful Christmastime on Maui. While you’re there, make sure you know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in the Hawaiian language.
If you’ll be staying on Maui through New Year’s Eve, check out our guide for possible Maui New Year’s celebrations, though they’ll be much more subdued in 2020 compared to years past, too.