This was my first year to spend the holidays away from my mom, who is quite possibly the coolest person I know and you should want to know. The last couple of years we have ditched the turkey dinner and made it a ritual to go on vacation for Christmas, most recently to New York and San Francisco. So if I must spend the holidays without family, it might as well be in 85 degree weather on the beach with a vodka drink and a hammock.
Hawaiian Holidays: The Maui Edition
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Maui for the holidays, seeing as how it’s one of the busiest times of the year but also, in my opinion, one of the least crazy party islands I’ve ever been. We were told that the island pretty much doubles in size during Christmas week, and now I understand why that can be an issue.
For one thing, some of the most traveled streets on the island are one lane, so for residents, getting stuck behind someone going 10 under the already low 35mph speed limit trying to spot a whale out their car window just kind of sucks. Secondly, there are only so many places people can go. This is a relatively large island, but most of it is covered in uninhabited mountains and volcano, which means there isn’t lots of room to spread out. The beaches get crowded, the grocery stores are swamped, the buses are full and taxi drivers are making more than your accountant.
The beautiful thing about spending Christmas in a place where a shit ton of people come to experience paradise is that it delivers. All the resorts in town put up gorgeous decorations and Christmas lights and are even nice enough to let you pee in their hotel for free, use their beach (all beaches are public in Hawaii), and have a $17 cocktail in their bar. Hooray! Also, if you happen to work in the hospitality/service industry, this is go time. Most people on the island make the majority of their income from December to May.
After eating Christmas morning pumpkin pancakes and steak and eggs, Peter headed off to work taking photos of families on the beach while I posted up at Napili Bay, one of the prettiest beaches on the West side of the island, and read, swam, soaked up some sun and listened to nearby families plan their best sandman-building techniques.
So while it may not look or feel like a normal holiday, holidays on Maui are by no means disappointing, just… different. If you enjoy wintery, picturesque, stereotypical Christmases with snow boots and cranberry sauce, this probably isn’t your cup’a eggnog, but if you enjoy yet another relaxing day on the beach with the occasional shirtless old man in a Santa hat on a paddleboard and the faint smell of sunblock, Hawaiian holidays might be your new thing.
New Year’s Eve was surprisingly fun. There were lots of events to choose from (if you happen to have a spare $200), but we opted to walk around the neighborhood and watch people blow things up in the street, followed by a prime spot on our rooftop where we could see fireworks from all over the island. While Halloween is definitely the biggest party holiday on the island, New Year’s might be the next closest thing.
Wishing everyone a belated Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou from Maui! Get out there and explore.