Christmas with a Sun Tan


Three warm weather destinations for Christmas, Miami, San Diego and Hawaii, offer weather that’s miles away from a white Christmas. Each place has its unique way of holiday celebrating without a snowman or sled in sight.

One sure fire way to get into the spirit of Christmas in Miami is to visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami-Dade’s Tropical Park. “The World’s Largest Christmas Theme Park” sports a 90-foot Christmas tree resplendent with millions of lights. Surrounding it are scenes of Santa in his workshop, popular children’s characters, a carnival, petting zoo, pony rides, food tents and, of course, the Jolly Man himself, Santa, waiting to visit with every good boy and girl.

Another way they celebrate here is Winterfest, a series of events providing wholesome holiday entertainment for the community, including the Boat Parade, clearly the festival’s highlight. There’s also the Black Tie Ball, the Shoreline Decorating Extravaganza, a golf tournament and more.

In Hawaii, Santa doesn’t arrive in a sleigh driven by reindeer. Instead, he usually comes by surfboard or canoe! Oahu Island has several events celebrating Christmas. On November 29th there are parades, including the Waikiki Holiday Parade sponsored by Gateway Music Festival & Tours. It hosts close to 40 bands and vehicles and thousands of marchers. This super festive event is the beginning of numerous holiday parades that run almost daily until close to Christmas Day.

In mid-December, employees of the Outrigger Reef compete to see who can create the most unique gingerbread work of art. Outrigger Reef also hosts Breakfast with Santa on the Beach. A sumptuous buffet breakfast is served along with face painting, balloon art, picture taking and lots more. A great event, the Honolulu Gift Fair is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Toys, gadgets, jewelry, antiques, books & music and more can be found at over 300 booths. It’s free though attendees are asked to donate canned food for the Hawaii Food Bank.

San Diego nights in December can get chilly, but you won’t be shoveling snow. San Diego marks the beginning of the holiday season with a celebration in Balboa Park called Balboa Park December Nights. It’s a two-night celebration with music, lights, theater, food and drink. The Balboa Park museums open their doors to the public for free from 5 to 9 pm.

The San Diego Zoo gets into the spirit with Jungle Bells! Music from bell ringers fills the air as the zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland. There’s a nightly tree lighting and light-covered animal figures everywhere. Dr. Zoolittle hosts the interactive show, “The Night Before Christmas”. Take a trolley ride through Jungle Bells magical light scenes, see “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas!” at the zoo’s 4d Theater and much more.

The downtown ice rink at Horton Square becomes San Diego’s own “Rockefeller Center” at Christmas. It’s the perfect holiday setting for the family to spend a night skating bundled up in stocking caps, mittens and scarves.

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Ashley Wellen

Ashley lives in Utah and loves everything about life. She grew up in Las Vegas and loves blogging about her experiences.

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