Priceless holiday for free


POSTED: Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas season is upon us. You can either spend a fortune chasing pricey holiday events or spend that time chasing money-saving deals.

You don't have to fall into the season of spending. Whether you're sitting on Santa's lap, finding someone less fortunate to help or sending out Christmas e-cards, there are plenty of free ways to get into the holiday spirit. Here are a few to start, at least one for each day of the season. (Activities that can be done other days have been designated with an asterisk.)

Dec. 1: Watch the festivities as the Outrigger Reef on the Beach lights up its Christmas tree at 6 p.m., in the hotel lobby, followed by holiday entertainment by the Kaleoaloha Keiki Choir.

Dec. 2: The lights go on at 6:15 p.m. for the tree fronting Castle Medical Center in Kailua. Afterward there will be entertainment and trolley rides to see the lights of Kailua, until 9.

Dec. 3: The Kaimuki Christmas Parade is expected to feature 1,500 marchers and 40 vehicles on its route from Saint Louis School up Waialae Avenue to Koko Head Avenue. The parade starts at 6 p.m.

Dec. 4: The holiday classic “;The Polar Express”; will be read at Kahala Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. Kahaluu and Ahuimanu choruses will join to present their holiday show “;Christmas the World Around”; at the KEY Project's tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. at 47-200 Waihee Road in Kahaluu.

Dec. 5: Honolulu Hale hosts its Christmas centerpiece with the tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by the electrical light parade down King Street. There will be food booths and keiki rides from 4 p.m. Check out the Christmas trees and the wreath display at City Hall from 6:30, with more music in the Sky Gate area at 7:30.

Earlier in the day, check out the “;Makiki Mele Kalikimaka”; from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Makiki District Park (1527 Keeaumoku St.), which will include games, entertainment, crafts, refreshments and visits with Santa. Call 522-7082.

Dec. 6: Central Union Church hosts its 62nd performance of Handel's “;Messiah”; at 7 p.m. This performance features conductor Sangeet Gellhorn, soprano Catherine Goto, mezzo-soprano Blythe Kelsey-Takemasa, tenor Kalani Brady and bass Christopher Kelsey, accompanied by the chamber ensemble. Call 941-0957.

If you're a Honolulu Zoo member, the zoo is hosting its annual Tropical Zoolites event from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. with entertainment, crafts, refreshments and large lighted animal sculptures on the lawn.

Dec. 7: The Wahiawa town Christmas parade, which includes two floats, winds down California Avenue from Kaala Elementary School, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 8: Listen to “;Bear Stays Up for Christmas”; at Ala Moana's Barnes & Noble at 11 a.m.

Dec. 9: Pop some popcorn and settle in at home for the nostalgic lineup of Christmas specials on ABC Family. “;Rudolph's Shiny New Year”; starts at 7 p.m., followed by “;Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town,”; “;Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys”; and “;'Twas the Night Before Christmas.”;

Dec. 10: See Santa sign at Pearlridge's 18th annual Deaf Santa Celebration from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Uptown on the second level near Sephora. Call Pearlridge at 488-0981.

Dec. 11*: Enter the Star-Bulletin's Keiki Kalikimaka ornament drawing contest or holiday horror stories contest and try to win $100. See details, Page 30.

Dec. 12: With Christmas less than two weeks away, this is the day to get out and enjoy the festivities. Here is a sampling of the freebies around town.

At 9 a.m. Santa arrives on Waikiki Beach via outrigger canoe at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach hotel. Watch the keiki greet him with hula performances, and take a complimentary picture with the man in red.

The Hawaii State Art Museum hosts “;Weaving and Tooling a Hawaiian Kine Christmas,”; from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event features lau hala weaving and leather tooling demonstrations.

Break a sweat building a snowman at Snow Days in Hawaii Nei at Pearl Highlands Center. The shopping center is bringing in 40 tons of snow fronting Regal Theatres. There will also be free train rides around the center, and Santa will be passing out free “;Santa Knows Best”; storybooks. (Pictures with Santa cost $5 for one 4-by-5-inch picture or $7 for two.) The winter wonderland lasts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the evening, Central Union Church brings the story of Jesus' birth to life with their drive-through Nativity scene from 6 to 8 p.m.

Dec. 13*: Take a break from shopping and watch Ala Moana Center's new 10-minute light and music show, “;Mele Trees of Light,”; at Center Court every hour daily through Christmas from 6 p.m. to closing.

Dec. 14*: Throughout December, bring your grandma to the Academy of Arts and you both get in free. The promotion is in reference to the current textile exhibit “;In Honor of Grandmother.”; Stop by the gift shop and pick out a few unique gifts while you're there or just consider it an early Christmas present from the museum.

Dec. 15: Kapolei Public Library celebrates Christmas from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. with puppeteer Christy Lipps, who'll bring favorite children's Christmas stories to life through puppets, finger plays and songs. There will also be a visit from Santa Claus. Call 693-7050.

Or stop by the Honolulu Hale Courtyard to take pictures with “;Star Wars”; Imperial Stormtroopers as they collect gifts for Toys for Tots from 6 to 9 p.m.

Dec. 16*: Do you believe in Santa? Drop off a letter stating why you believe in Santa Claus, stamped and addressed to the North Pole at the Santa Mail mailboxes in Macy's stores. The store will donate $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for each letter received.

Or stop by the Dear Santa Letter Writing Station at Windward Mall, write a letter to Santa, include a 44-cent stamp and get a reply delivered to your house.

Dec. 17: The 26-member Lincoln Elementary School Keiki Chorus will perform “;Christmas Is Everywhere”; at 6:30 p.m. in the Hawaii State Library lobby. Call 586-3499.

Dec. 18: Mermaids Hawaii presents a Christmas water show of synchronized swimming at 5:30 p.m. at Princess Kaiulani Hotel, 120 Kaiulani Ave. Call 864-8122.

Dec. 19: Check out “;Stomp!”; at Kahala Mall's Center Court at 2 p.m. and watch the cast of the traveling show make percussive music with buckets, brooms, newspapers and more.

In the evening, head back to Central Union Church for the Honolulu Boy Choir's presentation of “;Merriest Hawaiian Christmas”; along with the Royal Hawaiian Band and Kenny Endo's Taiko Youth Group of the Pacific. The music starts at 6:25 p.m. Call 941-0957.

Dec. 20*: The National Park Service and U.S. Navy will be giving night rides around Pearl Harbor on Dec. 18, 19 and 20. Tours leave every 15 minutes from the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Visitor Center on the day of the tour. The 30-minute tours feature Christmas music and views of many Pearl Harbor ships and submarines covered in Christmas decorations and lights. Call 422-2771, ext. 110.

Dec. 21*: Windward Mall's snow flurry tree dusts shoppers in “;snow”; at the top of each hour for 15 minutes between 1 and 8 p.m. until Christmas Eve.

Dec. 22*: Check out the edible fantasies produced by the staff in the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Employee Gingerbread Contest. The cookie creations will be on display in the hotel lobby from Dec. 21 to 25. While in Waikiki, stroll down Kalakaua Avenue and enjoy the elaborate hotel decorations and displays. Time your stroll to be at the Moana Surfrider at 5:30 p.m., when the employee choir will serenade you with a medley of holiday classics performed on the lobby's grand staircase.

Dec. 23*: The Salvation Army performs its annual live Nativity show Dec. 21 to 24 at the Waioli Gardens, 2950 Manoa Road. Shows run from 7 to 10 p.m., repeating every half-hour. Call 988-2136.

Dec. 24: Drive around your neighborhood and see how other people express their holiday spirit, or check out the impressive display of cartoon and Disney characters at 2331 Booth Road in Pauoa. The theme of this year's display is “;Ring Those Christmas Bells,”; and it peaks on Christmas Day when Noble Ing places a bell in the yard for visitors to ring for peace on earth. Money thrown into the wishing well goes to charity.

Dec. 25: Surround yourself with friends and family, and bask in the joyful Christmas you've created.