This holiday season, not everyone may be dreaming of a white Christmas drinking mulled cider. Some of us would love to lounge by the beach sipping from a fresh coconut. If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year but fall into the latter category, ditch the holly and snowflakes and opt for a Hawaiian-inspired holiday party instead!
Create a holiday tropical paradise. If you want an all-out Christmas in paradise look, the creative possibilities are endless. Did you know poinsettias are indigenous to Hawaii? Use poinsettias and hibiscus flowers as adornment throughout the rooms or as your Christmas tree decorations. Hang a Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) garland and alternate red bows and sparkling starfish. For your snack and drinks tables, line the table edges with a long grass skirt and add Christmas flourishes by stringing traditional Christmas lights. Or get really in theme with sea shell lights. You could also light taper candles on a pineapple candle stick holder for an elegant island look.
Make this year’s holiday spread eclectic. A Hawaiian-themed Christmas party can be as eclectic as you want. Food on the island is a melange of Asian influences, so anything from sushi, egg rolls, pot stickers and crab rangoon to poke served in coconut bowls is appropriate fare. Getting into the luau spirit? Then splurge on a barbecued pig or wrap meats and fish in banana leaves to grill. Serve a stunning fruit platter with tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya and guava. If you’re planning to bake, gingerbread men in Hawaiian shirts, Christmas elves wearing hula skirts, palm and pine trees are just a few Christmas cookies you could create. And while you’re at it, why not make a showstopping tiki gingerbread house to wow your guests?
Christmas drinks from the tiki room. You can go for the mulled wine and cider if you’re so inclined, but tiki drinks are so much fun. Punchy spiced rum cocktails will warm up your guests and a classic mai tai always has a peculiar knack to bringing about good cheer. For a holiday look, go for drinks that call for crushed ice and coconut milk -- an island cocktail is like drinking a snowball! Find green and red cocktail straws and stir sticks or tinsel-like foil umbrellas for an appropriate holiday look.
Set the spirit right. So you’ve decorated, prepared the drinks and laid out a beautiful table of food. There’s just one final element you need to pull off this soiree. You’re already in the Christmas spirit, but for a Hawaiian-inspired party, get yourself and your guests into the Aloha spirit too. Aloha is so much more than just the word for “hello”; it’s a quality of being extremely warm and welcoming. One way to start things off is to have someone -- perhaps Santa in a Hawaiian shirt? -- greet your guests at the door with red and green leis and with a drink ready to go.
Now get those Christmas carols playing in the background and be sure you play your favorite version of Mele Kalikimaka. You can probably skip Bing Crosby’s White Christmas this year. Happy tropical Christmas!