Oahu Christmas Tree Hunt | A Hawaii Family Tradition

Christmas on Oahu

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we’re finally getting to the business of Christmas. Living far from family and coming from mixed cultures, we’ve experimented a bit over the years with our own family traditions. Some traditions, like the trolley ride in Honolulu, we’ve outgrown. Others, involving elaborate confectionaries in a humid climate have been abandoned due to repeated failure. Seriously, why is it so hard to make good fudge? Along the way, we discovered our shared favorite tradition – the great Oahu Christmas tree hunt.

Watch a video from a visit to the farm here –

A Hawaiian Christmas Tree Farm

The tradition started off low key by trading our boxed Target tree for a live version. Not the bushy, fragrant fir and spruce trees you find in parking lots around Oahu, but the spindly, fast-growing Norfolk Island Pines. The type with so much space between the branches, you could hang a small child. These quirky trees stole our hearts.

I’ve occasionally seen these beauties for sale at Whole Foods, but your best bet is to visit Helemano Farms in Wahiawa for a pick-your-own Christmas tree situation.

The hunt is really the best part. After a long drive to the north shore, the kids stretch their legs and begin the hunt where they will drag an endlessly cheerful farm worker to and fro in search of “the one”. Weather patterns quickly shift between sunshine and rainfall tattoing bold rainbows on the sky. We end the trip with hot chocolate and candy canes and get excited to decorate our charming new resident.

Into the Forest – Taking it One Step Further

After visiting the Christmas Tree farm for several years, we discovered that we could obtain a free permit from DLNR to cut our very own Norfolk Pine from an approved forest reserve. The first year we were able to visit Peacock Flats which has a decidedly winter feel and is full of prime Christmas tree candidates. An ambitious friend even got permits to scavenge for Cypress and Cook Pine along with the Norfolk and we spent the afternoon happily weaving the branches into Christmas wreaths in the cool mountain air.

The permit method was free and infinitely more fun, but the next years weren’t quite as successful. The access road to Peacock Flats was deemed impassable and we’ve struggled to find a suitable alternative. DLNR guided us to Nuuanu, but we found that most of the trees were packed too tightly or not strong enough to hold ornaments on their spindly branches.

The search becomes more challenging each year, but sometimes we clamp two trees together and call it a win.

Want to Beautifully Capture Your Own Holiday Traditions?

I would be happy to tell your family’s story through photographs and video as a special keepsake. Reach out and tell me your favorite traditions here.

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