Grand Wailea celebrates the season

Guests delight in the annual tree-lighting ceremony, which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. -- Grand Wailea photo

It’s starting to feel a lot like the festive season at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort with a lively tree-lighting ceremony, Santa’s arrival by Hawaiian voyaging canoe and a gingerbread village built by the culinary team — all adding to the aloha spirit.

In fact, December is themed ‘Tis the Season of Aloha with many of the activities and the programs benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui.

‘Tis the Season of Aloha will kick off from 5 to 7 p.m. today with the tree lighting, in which more than seven miles of white lights are strung along the monkeypod trees lining the driveway to the entrance of the resort property.

The centerpiece will be the 25-foot-tall Christmas tree — waiting to be lit by children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. Spectators can buy $1 ornaments to hang on the tree with the hotel matching the $1 donation for the clubs.

There will also be a Letters to Santa station and a visit by Mr. Claus himself, perfect for keiki pictures.

Executive Chef Ryan Urig and Executive Pastry Chef Fabrice Benezit have created an idyllic gingerbread display in the lobby to remain for the whole month.

During festivities, the public may munch complimentary holiday cookies, sip cocoa and listen to a special performance by Maui Na Hoku Hanohano winner Anuhea.

Also running today through Dec. 10 will be a celebration of Hanukkah nightly at sunset with the lighting of a menorah in the lobby.

Jolly old St. Nick will make his second appearance Sunday, Dec. 15 during Breakfast with Santa in Grand Dining Room, which will be set up with the Letters to Santa station, frozen “hot chocolate” station and the keiki buffet. There should be opportunties for families to have their photos taken. Santa will splash into Wailea Beach via Hawaiian outrigger canoe at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 24 for Christmas Eve. After he sails in, he will settle into his big Santa-size chair at Chapel Lawn where he will be happy to hand out candy canes and pose for photos.

For more details, visit www or call the resort at 875-1234.