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Topic: Waikiki

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December 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Warming up in Waikiki, a tropical wonderland

A warm-weather Santa on the beach in Waikiki. (Kristin Jackson / Seattle Times)

A warm-weather Santa on the beach in Waikiki. (Kristin Jackson / Seattle Times)

Goodbye cold Seattle, hello balmy Waikiki with a sun-bronzed Santa Claus, in red shorts and a Santa hat, strolling the Waikiki beach. And local ladies dancing the hula at a beachside park, wearing sparkling green leis and swaying as a band croons “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

When fresh off the plane from deep-freeze Seattle, there’s something wonderfully incongruous about Christmas  festivities in a tropical haven like Hawaii. In Waikiki, the Honolulu visitor epicenter, the warm ocean waves lap the beach by the hula dancers. Santa stands under a swaying palm tree, by the light of a sparkling moon and flaming torches. Christmas decorations and lights shimmer in stores.

And  those stores … I haven’t stayed in Waikiki for many years and I was dazzled by the number of luxury stores that have

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